Friday, October 8, 2021

Generations fight as women's reproductive rights still under attack

It astonishes me that one of the most divisive and influential topics of the day—this day in the 21st century—still revolves around the right of women to choose to end a pregnancy. It is clear that choice is hers to make and yet too many are trying to interfere in this very personal, private issue. The decision to have an abortion does not belong in the hands of the government. It does not belong in the hands of clergy. It is solely a woman’s right, along with whatever counsel she decides to engage. The decision is hers. And, that is the law of the land.                                                                

Privacy laws protect the names and health conditions of Americans, and rightfully so. But when it comes to pregnant women, there is no privacy. There is only control.

Over the last five years, many changes have been brought about in this country, thanks to our former swindler president who has led a movement to bolster bad behavior, unscientific study, and Reptilian-like conduct.

One of the most heinous, and there are many actions of the former president along with his cohorts in Congress who speak with their own forked tongues, is to stack the deck against the law of the land. With highly questionable federal judicial appointments including three members of the Supreme Court, the scales of justice could be tipped so far to the right they could topple. I can only hope Lady Justice has a firm grasp on them.

It is heartening to see the side of reason fighting back again and/or still, evidenced in the recent women’s marches all over the country for reproductive rights. There were protests even in my own state and home town, which is as red as any place in the U.S. It was positively heartwarming. My lifestyle no longer allows for activism, but it is certainly where my heart is and will always be. I am grateful to every organizer, every marcher, and every person who has a hand in trying to change the things that are wrong in our society. We must all do our part, however minuscule. We must all stand together to fight for what is right.

It is disgusting that this fight goes on. Women won the right to control their own body years ago. But then as now, a force, largely of men who think they know better despite having no first-hand knowledge of pregnancy, want to take advantage of the aroused masses inspired by the former president and his ilk.

I hope they realize they may just unleash a fury that surprises them. You know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Some forty years ago I wrote my first letter to the editor in favor of a woman's right to choose. I was a young woman in my 20's. My getting involved in the abortion issue was rather out of character for me. I had dreamed of becoming a mother my entire life. I loved everything about babies. I never knew anyone who had an abortion and I couldn’t imagine ever having one myself. But I recognized that a woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body, her own family, and to control her own destiny. It is no one else’s decision. I felt the courts were right to allow abortion, for so many reasons.

The anti-abortion movement has always bothered me. It was like people butting into other people’s business where they don't belong. It is not the concern of a bunch of strangers and certainly not the government, to interfere in a decision so gut-wrenching, so personal, and often times, so painful. 

The entire "pro-life" campaign is disingenuous. As people pass around pictures of fully formed, full-term fetuses, they malign abortion. The pictures are so misleading, but isn’t that is their point! It is all about marketing. Who cares if it is truthful?

They oppose all abortions, no matter how the conception occurred, even if it is under the most horrific of circumstances. They don’t care about the health of the fetus or the mother. They just want a birth.

I had been stewing over what I was hearing on the news, which until then I had paid no attention. But I was driven to write that letter when I stopped at an intersection and saw people harassing drivers as they carried huge, blown-up glossy, gory photos of aborted fetuses. It didn’t make me question the pro-choice movement; it just made me angry that anyone would try to manipulate public opinion in such a way and to misrepresent situations they knew nothing about. Behind those pictures were women whose hearts were likely broken and whose lives were changed forever. That is not something to be taken lightly. The more I heard from pro-lifers the more sickened I became. But the worst part was that members of local, state and the federal government were involved. They were spending my tax dollars to fight women. That is just wrong, no matter how it is viewed. So, despite my being young, impressionable, and na├»ve, I felt I had to take a stand against this.

Today, millions have been inspired by the sincerity of the pro-choice movement. It is not just a bunch of pro-abortionists, since no such thing exists, but it is made up of people who want women to have control over their own decisions that affect their own bodies. Millions now march for women’s rights, as in this past weekend. It is heartening to see that protests are no longer made up of just women. Men too, have gotten into the act. Marches now include mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and even husbands, sons and fathers.

Much has changed in the 40 years since I wrote to my local newspaper expressing my displeasure for a government that thinks it has the right to pry into people’s most personal and private decisions.

While I no longer have the actual letter I wrote or the paper it was printed in, I do remember vividly how strongly I felt about it back then. My views have not wavered in all these years. In fact, they have been reinforced. I said then and I say now, that if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one, but you have no right to force your views onto anyone else.

I am sickened by those who claim this is a right-to-life issue. Right-to-life is just a meaningless slogan, a marketing tool meant to confuse. Interestingly, it consists some of the same hypocritical people who show a callous disregard for human lives taken by the Corona Virus or gun violence. They oppose wearing masks or getting life-saving vaccines. Ironically, they use the phrase, “my body my choice,” when describing their stand. Too bad they don’t apply that phrase to a woman’s right to her own reproductive health. Right-to-lifers are also the same people who advocate for stocking up on military-style weapons, no matter who gets mowed down in the streets, in schools, places of worship, or a fast food joint.

Pro -lifers play to the lowest common denominator. 

People allow themselves to be manipulated by this and other marketing campaigns designed by unscrupulous politicians who will do anything or say anything to keep their seat of power. It is just so sad. I wish people would wake up and listen to the whole story, rather than just one side of it. Politicians who take positions to use their constituents to gain wealth and power need to be voted out. And everyone should have the right to vote them out, but that is another topic for another time.

If we put as much money into education as we do campaigning for government office, it wouldn’t be so simple to manipulate the public into believing misinformation and outright lies.

Lady Justice has her hands full. I certainly hope she can handle it.