Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren’t there?
Last night, as I was engaging in neighborly frivolity and community, passing out candy and treats while enjoying the night air and traditional Halloween fare, the news came down regarding the 5th Circuit Court’s reversal on HB2. From the New York Times article:
Abortion clinic owners and women’s health advocates said the decision would have catastrophic effects because as many as 13 of the 36 clinics providing abortions in the state would have to stop doing so immediately, forcing women in large swaths of Texas to travel several hours on at least two days to obtain abortions.
The clinics forced to halt abortions have been unable to satisfy a new requirement, part of a broader anti-abortion law adopted in July, that doctors performing the procedure must have formal admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
I looked at my Twitter feed and it was filled with rage and sadness at the news, though it was news that was expected. Still, a nightmare for women who now face, yes, undue burdens as they seek reproductive services and justice.
I’d like you to consider the true scope of what these laws will do to women, the true scope of what is intended. Complete subordination of our equality to men based on gender and biology.
Jim Rigby said it well in his blog post last night (bolding and emphasis mine):
The anti-choice strategy of harassing clinics while waiting to overturn Roe has been incredibly successful. In addition to banning abortions after 20 weeks and making abortions much more expensive, the new law puts pressure on hospitals to distance themselves for abortion providers or face the same kind of protests, vandalism and vilification that has had a withering effect on abortion clinics for decades.
A central question at stake in the struggle for reproductive rights is whether women are persons in the constitutional sense of belonging to themselves. Do women have inalienable rights that cannot be put up for a vote, or are their bodies a kind of community property? If a woman’s most personal decisions are to be determined by political and judicial means, then she has been ruled incapable of moral agency.
Much of the response I’ve seen from the Right is that women and children are now safer that women’s access to full reproductive services has been taken away and limited. Safer how? Safer why? Safer to be broodmares? Safer to suffer through extended miscarriage without trained staff to help? Safer due to having to fight to show mercy to a irrevocably damaged fetus that will not live past birth or will suffer interminably ?
If that is safety, then I don’t know what the word means. It is a fetishization of babies and innocence, mixed with sadism over suffering, wrapped up in the bows of false spirituality.
Meanwhile, in the land of living people, food stamps are being cut, minimum wage is not being raised out of fear, though corporations could indeed pay their staff better, and we have experienced a government shut down based on providing health care to citizens at affordable costs (which include that devil, contraception!).
Safer for whom? Businesses that love low wage employees? Prison pipelines that force inmates to perform slave labor? Churches who teach the antithesis of Christianity, but promote white babies in quiverfulls, no doubt to make up for the changing face of our culture both in race and in sexual orientation, a change that should not provoke fear but joy.
These are the real horrors, the real monsters and ghouls that seek to take away rights, provoke hatred, promote ignorance and fear around things like basic health care, enslave people for profit, and deny that love can exist in multiple gender combinations.
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified, because the monsters we are dealing with are people just like us, at least, I have to believe they are like us. Maybe they aren’t. Even in Aliens, the cruelest monsters were people working for hivemind of The Company. The aliens were just trying to live.
We need, then, our brave Newts’ who call out truth to power, and we need our Ripleys’ to go back to the fight again and again, regardless of the risk. And thankfully, there are many out there, too many for me to name in my blog (though they are in my link page, in my Twitter feed), but they are made up of people who believe in joy, and in social justice, and in hope, and in choice.
They fight for human rights, for a world unpoisoned by hate and dominance, for love, and for each other. They fight for a world that can be so much better than this one. Part of the power of reproductive justice is that it feeds into education, economics, autonomy of relationships, ending abuse and sexual assault, and more. How we treat women is connected to all of those things.
We envision a society in which equal access to abortion is guaranteed for all, regardless of economic situation. The Lilith Fund believes in reproductive equity. The right to choose an abortion is meaningless without access to abortion services. Restrictions on abortion access and funding are discriminatory because they especially burden low-income patients. We oppose all efforts to restrict abortion rights and are committed to fighting for access to abortion.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Foundation’s mission is to support and protect, as a fundamental right and value, a woman’s freedom to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices through education, training, organizing, legal action, and public policy.
As one of the largest nonprofit health care providers in the state, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas’ health centers will continue to provide essential health and education in Central and North Texas such as life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, and birth control to help families plan and space their pregnancies.
For more than 75 years, Texans have trusted Planned Parenthood for affordable health care and birth control, accurate sexual health information, and to advocate on behalf of women and families.
If you can’t do that, support liberal progressive candidates, vote, donate to food banks because they will be stretched to capacity very soon, run for office, write blogs, share news on FB and Twitter, go to meet ups, and most of all know that there are so many of us here to support you.
So far as reproductive justice is concerned, we have to make a choice, as Jim Rigby said:
The only two options now left for Texas women are solidarity or servitude. It is an historic time of crisis in the battleground state of Texas. No one should serve over the women of Texas who denies their right to constitutional personhood. Either Texas women unite to drive misogynists out of the Texas Legislature once and for all, or they will face a future defined by the very men who are insulting and assaulting them at every turn.
So, let’s unite.