OK, they’re here. The laws that will force you to bear your rapist’s child, even if you are only eleven years old. The laws that make it illegal (punished by life in prison or the death penalty) to leave the state (presuming you can afford to do that) to get an abortion someplace where abortions are legal. (I’ve got, at the least, a Commerce Clause argument, but the five conservative “justices” on the Supreme Court won’t care.) The laws that will jail you if you help someone else get an abortion (Careful you don’t drive Uber to the airport, loan your cousin $200, watch your grandchildren for the weekend, give your employee time off! Women seeking abortion must be left lonely, alone, bereft, friendless, without help). The laws that will jail you if you miscarry or have an ectopic pregnancy. The laws that will take away your birth control.
That these laws were passed by men who don’t even understand how women’s bodies and/or birth control actually work just makes them even worse.
For years, our “liberal” male “allies” have told women that we were hysterical to imagine that the Christian Taliban really meant to jail women (maybe doctors, but surely not the women) for seeking an abortion. Even when Trump (whom I will bet my left breast has paid for some abortions) plainly said that those women must be punished , we were told not to take it literally. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told over the years that maybe it would be a good idea to just concede on abortion so that we could “move on” to the “more meaningful economic issues,” as if (ignoring the more fundamental issues of bodily integrity and freedom) forced childbirth doesn’t have devastating economic impacts on women and the children they are forced to bear.
And, well, here we are. When these state laws reach the Supreme Court, they will be upheld by the five conservative justices. Other states will then follow suit.
We tried to tell you.
(And I just have to say that if you didn’t vote in the 2016 election or if you voted for Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, I do blame you for this state of affairs. If you can’t bother to vote in state and local elections, I do blame you for this state of affairs. And all you bright young things who sneered at boxy jackets and insisted that you were too enlightened to “vote with your vagina ,” well, enjoy Gilead.)
So, now that we’ve assigned blame (and, obviously, Patriarchy and his factotum, Capitalism, are most to blame) what’s to be done?
On a practical level, if you do not want to have children or have had all the children that you want to have, get sterilized right now. (Yes, it’s less intrusive for the male member of a couple to get sterilized, but his sterilization won’t protect you if you get raped. That’s not to say it’s a bad idea for men to get sterilized. )
If you are on birth control, talk to your medical provider right now about long-term alternatives. Be aware that the Christian Taliban insists, against all evidence, that several methods of birth control (IUDs and some hormonal methods) are actually a form of abortion and that they will outlaw these methods. You need to have a plan for what you’ll do when, for example, your IUD is recalled as illegal.
Barrier methods of birth control are likely to be subject to strict (and arbitrary — think Duane, the guy who runs the cash register on weekend nights at the CVS — getting to question you about your sex life) controls. For example, if you’re gay, you won’t be able to buy condoms; sex, after all, is only for a married couple that includes a man and a woman. If you’re a single woman, you won’t be able to buy condoms or the cervical cap; see above and, by the way, sweetie, even if you’re married, do you have your husband’s permission for these purchases??? (I had to get my husband’s permission to have a library card in 1974 Maryland. Just saying for those of you who are too young to remember all the way back to when those embarrassing old second wave feminists were fighting for their own bank cards.)
Condoms and Plan B have shelf lives of at least four years when properly stored. You should seriously consider buying and hiding those. I am an old woman who’s had a hysterectomy, but I have both stored in case some younger woman needs them. We have to look out for each other.
On a side note, the Christian Taliban also hates the HPV vaccine because it allows people to have sex without the threatening punishment of disease. If you have a child (female or male) please get them vaccinated now, before the vaccine becomes illegal.
When some states proposed bills attempting to criminalize the use of bathrooms by certain people (for example, criminalizing the use of a men’s bathroom by trans men), a large number of sports organizations, businesses, and musical performers threatened to boycott those states. I supported those actions. We don’t need the government checking genitals outside public bathrooms. (Yes, such boycotts can hurt poor people who depend upon, for example, jobs at the state convention center. Most actions have unintended consequences.) I intend to work hard to get such organizations to boycott Ohio, Georgia, and other states that adopt anti-woman laws. I won’t spend any money that I can possibly avoiding (sometimes, you don’t realize that the company that makes that product is located in, for example, Georgia) those states and I positively won’t travel to or through them. Georgia has a large film industry. Make your movie there and I won’t watch it.
Look at where your money is going. Mystic South is super inclusive. So, sure, register for the conference, but don’t buy from the local Target.
I will donate money and write Postcards to Voters in those states when their state elections roll around, hoping to elect people who will revoke those laws. I will continue to work to elect people in my state, Virginia, who understand that women’s rights are human rights. (And, trust me, we are not that far away from a time when Virginia passed a requirement (still on the books) that women seeking abortion be subject (regardless of what they wanted or their doctor said) to having a huge, hard wand stuck up their vagina — they get to pay for that privilege.)
And, I will continue to do political magic. I’ll continue to work the Magical Battle for America and I’ll continue to work Michael Hughes’ hex upon Donald Trump. I’ll continue to work with my small cell on the banks of the Potomac.
So, here we are, exactly where women said we would be. The irony of the fact that when Cassandra said no to Apollo, his patriatric curse was that she’d tell the truth and be ignored, has never been lost on me.
Happy motherfucking Mother’s Day, motherfuckers.
Picture found here.