I am a woman. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter. I am a niece, a godmother, a granddaughter, a fiancé. I am a friend, a confidant, a shoulder to lean on. I am a teacher, a Pagan, a priestess, an artist. I am a liberal, tree-hugging hippie. I am a New Yorker and a United States citizen. And I am a feminist, and I DEMAND my EQUAL rights.
The word “feminist” means many things to many different people. Some feminists are quite conservative. Some are religious. We don’t all have the same political or spiritual ideologies. What MOST of us DO have, however, is this nagging thought in our heads that women are equal to men. When it started, that’s all women wanted: the same rights and opportunities as men, to be treated as equals, to be afforded the same education and protection UNDER THE LAW as men, to not be held as property or inferior to men.
Unfortunately, it is a fight that will most likely never truly end, especially in this patriarchal world society. And now, more than ever, it is obvious that the extreme right has been quietly lying in wait to take our rights away.
Arizona legislators (not doctors, not nurses, not any type of medical personnel AT ALL) have now placed the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy at two weeks before conception, essentially when she ovulates, in a move designed to further limit the amount of time a woman can legally obtain an abortion. Arizona has also pushed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, which would drastically reduce many women’s access to birth control, mammograms, family planning counseling and gynecological health care, including PAP smears and STI testing. In Arizona alone, the amount of anti-woman legislation that has passed is abominable. Restrictions on birth control, abortion and health care service are popping up all over the place.
In Tennessee, a bill has been passed that criminalizes miscarriage. Again, no medical personnel were consulted on this. If they had been, legislators would have had to accept that 50% of pregnancies miscarry naturally, before the embryo stage is even reached. It is nothing the woman has done or could have prevented. Many times, miscarriage is a sign that the zygote would not have thrived. Now, according to this bill, women could be held criminally responsible for, what is for many, a catastrophic event that they had no control over.
In Nebraska, women have been forced to carry their STILLBORN (i.e. dead) fetus to term because of the anti-abortion laws in that state.
Federally, “The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act (S.2075 in the 110th Congress/H.R.649 in the 111th) was introduced by anti-choice legislators effectively mandating that all women seeking abortion services undergo an ultrasound, even if not medically necessary”. And, to add to that, “In the 112th Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act (H.R.3130). This bill expands upon the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act by including a provision that would force the woman to listen to the fetal heartbeat before receiving abortion care after the eighth week of pregnancy.” A mandatory, non-consensual, invasive, unnecessary medical procedure that the women will have to PAY for, in order to try and convince them not to have an abortion? What are we coming to?
There is a War on Women, people, and it’s be led by religious, right-wing conservative Republicans. Yes, there are Democrats mixed in there, too, but for the most part, the legislators who want to take away our rights, who want to let the law and the church have a say in what we do with OUR bodies, are white, upper-class, religious, Republican MEN who will never suffer a miscarriage (and be penalized for it), who will never know the agony of having to deliver their stillborn baby, who will never know the fear of being unable to pay for medical care, who will never be pregnant. Don’t let them kick us back to the 19th century. Rise up, use your voice and don’t let them win.
“If you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention.”