My 12 year old is aware that the world is on fire no matter how many times you tell her it isn’t. She knows that a gun has more rights than her body-she mentioned it in passing. She mentioned it like it was a book she had read or a movie she had watched.
When RBG died, I cried. My husband held me in the middle of a NY state forest and promised me it would be alright, that he would always stand by my decisions like the tall trees surrounding us. I loved him for this; I hated him for this. I loved that he would be my protector, but I hated that I would need one.
The day my city died started out different for the women, but afternoon tragedy kept that story off the evening news. The morning had brought sunlight and screaming, there before our City Hall. I stood with the fiercest of women, sounding off our rage as we paraded through the downtown streets. We were full of fire and fury, and freedom.
No tears came on June 24th. Only a quiet and expected rage, growing deeper each passing day, waiting. Deep puddles of sadness splotched about my neighborhood as I passed sisters on the streets, just as enraged as I was.
My husband maintains his stance: my body is mine. I thank him, but that is not enough- not enough to say it to my face. Say it to theirs-say it to every man in your life. Make them shout it from the rooftops.
They want so much to be our protectors, it seems. And yet, given the opportunity, given the information, given the instructions-still we see no assistance. Still we see no change. They could be our superheroes, if they weren’t so afraid of the opinions of one another.
It’s been a little while now, and the tears came eventually and sporadically. Once processed, action becomes the call, urging me to offer whatever I can. I look for protest-I look for dissent. I no longer trust you, because you can’t trust me-that’s what they are telling us.
You think we can’t be trusted. You thnk your mother-sister-daughter-friend can’t be trusted.
Schedules have gone out the door. Time means nothing. I think it’s Friday. Nothing means anything, at least it hasn’t since three days ago when I checked my news feed after being in the sick-mom bubble all week.
Listen…I was pro-choice before pro-choice was cool.
Picture me, a twelve-year-old Catholic schoolgirl who spends her weekends hanging with a Baptist youth group and you can pretty much figure out that I was anti-abortion…”pro-life,” as they liked to call it. I had it coming at me from two religions, you see. First, there was the day in 7th grade when our church got the big “Respect Life” sign installed on the front lawn, and we were taught that it meant we, as Catholics, supported life in all forms. Which sounds great, but has caveats that they didn’t bother to explain to us. I thought it meant you do everything you can to save a baby, and you don’t support the death penalty. Again, perfectly great ideals, but asking a child to blindly follow something that they do not truly understand is not okay, in my opinion. Then, there were the Baptists. Now, I’d love to write a blog comparing the two religion’s influences in my youth because I’m sure it would be fascinating (to me at least) but for the sake of this blog, we’re just talking about abortion.
The Baptists provided more information, but it was mostly incorrect. No, I was not invited to vigils and pickets and the March for Life-that was reserved for the high schoolers. But I was taught that barbaric methods were used during abortions and that those who performed or received them were going straight to hell. We were to pity those people, and pray for their souls. I went off to my Catholic high school with this idea in my brain.
Then came October 23rd, 1998. I was a sophomore, and Dr. Barnett Slepian of Amherst NY was murdered in his home while making soup. He was an OB/GYN who provided abortions, and for this, a zealot shot him in the head.
This was the moment when “Respect Life” took on a whole new meaning for me. Obviously, this man was not respecting life…I’m talking about the shooter, not the abortionist. A true Christian, I surmised, would aid the supposed sinner, not play God and remove them. My eyes opened then, as I realized neither my church nor my youth group seemed to take into consideration the lives that were already walking the earth. So, I did as I do when confronted with a problem, and I researched.
Wow, was I lied to! From both parties!
First of all, the barbaric practices the Baptists spoke of were practically nonexistent, and what did seem terrible only seemed that way if you look at the fetus as a whole human instead of a grouping of cells, which is what it is in the beginning. Then the Catholics and their rhetoric just seemed ridiculous, because on one hand they were all “let us pray for the family of Dr. Slepian,” and on the other, “be sure to register for the Walk for Life!” I was already seeing all kinds of Catholic hypocrisy, so this was really no surprise.
Anyway, long story short, I was anti-abortion at one time, because somebody lied to me. A lot of somebodies lied to me, over and over again, so of course I believed them. So, what am I saying?
I’m saying that if you’re still anti-abortion, I’m going to need you to ask yourself why. If it’s a God thing, cool…you do you. But that’s just it…you…do…YOU. Not me, not her, not anybody else. You don’t get to decide for me how I get to live my life. No one does, in any way, ever, and that is the hill I will literally die upon. Just like I can’t force you to get an abortion, you can’t force me not to. I will not risk my health or sanity because you got a beef with your church. Note I said church, not Creator, because that dude does not care, I assure you. Jesus never said one word about abortion. And my favorite little bit of Bible in this particular case? “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7. Ain’t no fetuses breathing, is all I’m saying.
But, Bible aside, (because it should be-we aren’t all Christians, and shouldn’t have to live by their dogma,) this is so not about babies at this point, and it’s so glaringly obvious, that I just don’t think I have the energy for the enemy anymore. If you can’t see that this is a total attack on all women, you are not paying attention. For instance, some states are proposing legislature that would persecute a woman who has an abortion for an ectopic pregnancy. Those pregnancies are 100% not viable, and can kill the woman. So, should I have one in one of these states, I would have to choose between letting myself die or going to prison because I had an health condition.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
So, this is just a note to say peace out to everyone I know who is supporting Alito’s document. I am done with you. You do not value my life, or the lives of the women I know, or the lives of the women you know. If abortion isn’t for you, that’s fine…but you don’t get to speak for me, and if you think you do, you can just be on your merry way. Unfollow, delete, block, do what you gotta do…but I’m not coming around on this one.
Of course, 90% of the people I’m taking to right now are men. All the ladies I know are outraged, while the dudes are just standing there with their hands in their pockets. Look at your wife; look at your daughter. Look at your mother. Do you really believe a rich old white male politician knows more about her body than she does? If you do…then you need to leave. You don’t value her as a human being if you think she can’t handle herself. End of story.
We are not idiots, you see. We are brilliant, and we are systematically held down because of our brilliance, in ways such as this. What are you so afraid of, men? Why is being in control so important to you?
Perhaps because you know that if the roles were switched as they are now…you wouldn’t like it. You wouldn’t like making 72 cents on the dollar. You wouldn’t like that 1 in 4 of your friends have been sexually assaulted and/or domestically abused. You aren’t going to like us catcalling you on the street when you’re just trying to get through your day. You aren’t down with us making you get a vasectomy or taking birth control pills. You have no desire to stand in our shoes, because you have made them incredibly uncomfortable, and you know it.
Oh, and don’t “well that’s a different generation” at me! I know 15-year-old boys who think they can control girls, so what the fuck makes me think they didn’t learn it from their parents? Don’t tell me “well, if women don’t want to get pregnant they should keep their legs shut,” like you’d want to live in a world where no one is fucking you. Don’t pull the old “well the body has ways of shutting down a nonlegitimate pregnancy,” you total goon! Go read one of those science books their trying to ban. I mean, MY GOD, a simple Google search, guys!
So, in conclusion, if you decide that you yourself do not want an abortion, that’s nice. But you don’t get to speak for me, you don’t get to pity me, and you don’t get to try to change my mind, any more than I do for you. There is one Christian tenet that I have carried with me throughout my long spiritual journey…do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And for a bunch of folks claiming to be Christian, you sure aren’t following the main rule. I would never force you to get an abortion. You don’t get to force me or anyone else out of one.