Lauren is a 30-something, agnostic, unmarried, Asian-American, woman who lives in the Bay Area, California. David is a 60-something, married with an adult son, Zen Juddhist, man who lives in Flint, Michigan.
The Rules – They choose a topic, and with no discussion, each knocks out around 1,000 words. What you get is the straight scoop, the skinny, the 4-1-1 on what each one thinks.
In Chinese culture, there is a heavy preference for male children. In theory, a son cares for the family and carries on the family name. My parents weren’t the most traditional folks, and I never felt the presence of that notion. It was actually quite the opposite, I was raised to be a strong, independent, woman – I could do anything the boys could do. Well… I took that ideal and experience for granted.
Growing up, I had some references to and a vague understanding of Roe v. Wade, but it wasn’t something I spent much time thinking about. It felt like history. It was a court case, that was established decades earlier, granting women the right to get an abortion – which, of course women should have that right. I had never known a time without it… until a few months ago, when the Supreme Court rescinded a constitutional, fundamental, right for the first time in history. Suddenly I was left going “Wait, what does this even mean?”
Immediately, no. What. The. Hell.
Slaves don’t have it.
Prisoners of war don’t have it.
People in concentration camps don’t have it.
And with the overturn of Roe v. Wade by our bought and paid for members of SCOTUS, American women don’t have it.
The right to the sanctity and security of your own self. American women can now be forced to carry an unwanted or violently conceived or unhealthy pregnancy to the full-term. Any pregnancy, in fact, is now sacred in far too many states.
An 11 year old girl, raped by her brother or uncle or the guys up the street can now be compelled to carry that pregnancy to full-term. A baby having a baby.
A carefully planned and anticipated pregnancy where genetic tests determine that a horrific birth defect and great health risk to the mother are a most likely outcome will now be carried to full-term.
A failure of birth control which results in an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy will bring a child into the world.
Why? Because fascism is alive and well in America. We’ve seen it march through our legislatures at every level. The judiciary. The executive branch. But this stroke; the notion that women are no longer allowed to control their own bodies, their own healthcare decisions, their right to be fully free and human, this is the hinge upon which the fascist move to power swings. They have taken a powerful stance – that abortion under circumstance is illegal and punishable by jail and fines.
I won’t pretend to understand all the intricacies of the law and how entangled this single case is with the outcomes and rulings of so many others, but I know for damn sure that, even at its surface, it is devastating. I no longer have the full ability to choose the course of my life. My present, current, life. Full-bodied, breathing, standing in front of you, full of thoughts, opinions, hopes, and dreams.
Choosing to have a baby, or not, is not a small decision, but I feel like you understand that, David. I don’t have any kids at the moment – it’s a choice that I’ve made. Is it because I can’t have kids? Well, honestly, that’s none of your business. Is it because I don’t like kids? Nope, kids are cool! I worked in education for years and loved getting to interact with them and see all they’re open to and capable of. It’s because having kids is a massive life undertaking. From the toll of pregnancy and labor to raising them for 18+ years… it affects you physically, mentally, financially – in expenditures AND in career earnings – it changes your living environment, so many of your relationships… everything.
The ability to choose what to do with my own body being taken away is wild. I can choose to donate my organs when I die, but I can’t choose to keep them to myself while I’m alive? People claim to have a “pro-life” stance, but somehow my own life doesn’t count? That’s not pro-life, that’s anti-choice.
Life – correction, a second, possible, life – being a part of the equation does make this a heavy, complex topic; but at its foundation, it should be easy. So let’s try to simplify for the sake of understanding how this feels.
This stance has nothing to do with health or morality or anything rooted in decent and civil humanity. It has everything to do with control and the dissolution of women’s rights as people. If this succeeds, only a fool would believe that this is the end. This is the patriarchy acting to crush the votes of 50.52% of the population.
It is the beginning. The military will be forced into service as police. Sure, the Posse Comitatus Act might disagree but that’s easily ignored by authoritarian rulers.
The Fourth Amendment ensures our right against unreasonable search and seizures. Again, easily ignored.
The right to marry who one chooses will be next. The voting rights of people of color will follow. Likewise, women’s voting rights will next be limited to those women married to men in “christian union.” The availability of contraception, in a woman’s private consultation with their physician, will be on the table. Why? Because it is up to the man to determine whether his woman should be pregnant or not. Or god. Some choice, eh?
The GOP has chosen the overthrow of Roe v. Wade to determine if Americans are willing to submit quietly to autocratic rule.
What if… there was a law that said anytime someone drew a dick on your body or face, you were required to tattoo the drawing exactly as is, wherever it is. It’s not fair, because you fell asleep first at a sleepover or a party, so you didn’t want it or consent to that happening? I don’t know what to tell you, you should have been more responsible. And don’t worry, once it gets tattooed, you can do whatever you want or need. Maybe you’ll be fine because you are able to take time off work and have the finances available to have it removed, or buy makeup to cover it up. Oh, you don’t have those kinds of resources? Unfortunately, there are no financial or other support systems in place to help you with that burden. You have concerns that having dick drawings tattooed on your face and arms will impact the course of your career or possibly minimize your job opportunities? Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Don’t like how that sounds? Maybe… you should get to have control over your own body.
Lauren, I need to digress for a moment. My Dad was on dialysis for several years. In late December, 2018, Dad decided that he was “tired of waking up feeling like shit and I know I’ll never feel better.” He chose to end his dialysis. Two weeks later, on January 14, he died at home with all of us around. No one told him he had to continue treatment. He was not threatened with prison for daring to end his own life after 87 years. No one told him he was a criminal or immoral or “subverting god’s will” or any of that shit. We celebrated his life well-lived and loved.
Women, and their health care needs, clearly are not held in the same esteem. If a small clump of non-differentiated cells must be carried to full-term by the law, then why wasn’t my father forced to utilize every possible medical treatment to continue his life?
Because my Dad had bodily autonomy.
“Abortion is bad.” Says who? Because I think the person whose life is in danger due to pregnancy complications or the pre-teen who is now carrying their rapist’s baby would opt to say that abortion is good. Wouldn’t you think you would know what’s “good or bad” for yourself? Men get to choose what to do with their own bodies, I should get to choose what to do with mine. I saw a post recently that noted something along the lines of, “A fetus still has the possibility of being a man, so they have more rights than a woman.” Congratulations everybody, we’ve achieved time travel and have gone back to the dark ages.
Throughout a lot of our country’s history, constraints and exclusions and hindrances have often been enacted through laws and rulings veiled in progress – some thinner than others– but this hit feels pretty blatant. It doesn’t sound like the repeals are going to stop there. There’s already been talk about relooking at several other cases that are tied to our right to privacy. We’re in the digital age, and technology is so deeply intertwined with most people’s day-to-day existence – computers, cell phones, apps that map and track and check-us into places – this feels like we’re about to be on the edge of chaos. I’m not typically a pessimistic person, but I do try to be pretty realistic. And this, among everything else going on these days, is bad.
Let’s think logically for a moment. The typical woman who seeks an abortion struggles financially. She has attended some college. This is her first abortion. She is unmarried. She is in her first 6 weeks of pregnancy. (Guttmacher Institute) She is scared. She is alone. (This writer’s opinion.) We all realize that the GQP despises the poor, and this is just another example.
I found this intriguing – 25% of all women, across all political and economic and cultural and educational lines will have an abortion before the end of their child-bearing years. That’s a lot of medical procedures. No one, whether it is wisdom teeth removal or cancer surgery or abortion, undergoes a medical procedure without a lot of thought and concern and soul-searching.
Abortion is healthcare. More importantly, It is bodily autonomy.
It is this autonomy that states like Texas, and other primarily Southern states, seek to strip from women. Isn’t it curious, Lauren, that the states where slavery and the confederacy had such a stronghold are the ones with the most brutal and repressive abortion laws. Always on brand, the South, eh?
Here in Michigan, women’s healthcare is still very much the personal business of women and their health care providers. Yet, we have Betsy DeVos’s hand-picked, Trump-anointed Ms. Tudor Dixon as the GQP candidate for governor. She is 100% opposed to abortion under any circumstances. Here is a quote from the Detroit Free Press.
Recently, Dixon doubled down saying she believes a 14-year-old should be forced to give birth because “the bond that those two people made and the fact that out of that tragedy there was healing through that baby, it’s something that we don’t think about.”
Absurd? Ludicrous? That out of a horrific act of violence the baby is an act of healing? There is no healing to be had here. The Baby will be a constant reminder of one of the worst acts of violence that a woman, or female child, can undergo.
It’s a lot to grapple with, but I do have a bit of optimism. This screeching halt feels a little bit like a broader societal version of the Great Resignation. Lower level staff finally getting fed-up with being treated terribly, being yanked around by upper management, needing to be on-call for their bosses, and all for unlivable wages or salaries. They recognized their rights, priorities, and value, and demanded better working conditions. Sure, individual employees may have felt this way in the past, but currently they have so much power in sheer numbers. Collectively saying, “we’re over it”. There’s a reckoning happening in the work world. If a business wants good staff to stay, they need to value them as humans and not cogs in a machine. In a similar way with this Supreme Court decision, we have collective power but we need to own that. Sure, women makeup more than half of the population in the United States; but this affects everyone. And since I apparently don’t get much of a say on this… I’d like to invite you and everyone else to read up, vote, talk to other people, and increase the volume.
I did not want to enter the GQP religious house of mirrors, Lauren. It’s a place where true righteousness and compassion is seen as weakness; where smiting one’s opponents is a fun time at the park but I have to go there for 3 paragraphs.
There’s this idea among religious zealots that at the moment of conception, when sperm bumps into egg, bursts through the vitelline membrane and swaps DNA bits with the ovum, that some sort of incandescent sunburst occurs as the zygote is imbued with an immortal bit of ephemera called the soul. My faith disagrees.
More importantly, my faith is quite certain that nothing, absolutely nothing, is more sacred than the life of the mother. Mental health, physical health – the mother is paramount. Always.
The notion that a faux-christian white nationalist movement can summarily overthrow everyone else’s religious faith is more than abhorrent. It is un-American and un-constitutional. The first amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
When law is written based on the religious beliefs of a certain segment of society, we have established a state religion.
Lauren, what is the purpose behind the overthrow of Roe v. Wade?
This is a test of fascism; the opening salvo in a war for our country and democracy. It is rooted in control of women. If you control women, if you can force them to give birth, if you indoctrinate them in schools where curriculum supports “the blessedness of autocratic rule,” you control the future of a country.
Let’s remember that the USA is roughly 250 years old. Women were denied the right to vote for 150 of those years. And when did the strongest strides for basic human dignities in the US take place? Since August 18,1920, with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution.
Let’s remember that this is a test to see how strongly men as allies will stand with women. The GOP wants to crush basic human spirit.
Let’s remember that abortion is health care.
Let’s remember that women’s bodily autonomy must remain sacrosanct and their own province.
Let’s not allow the first gigantic domino to fall. This will ignite a chain of events that will end the American Experiment. Abortion must be safe, legal, and available.
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