Like most women and people who actually give a shit about women, I have spent this past week absolutely stunned at the audacity of the governor and legislators in Texas who have just wiped away our constitutional right to abortion with the Texas Abortion Law. Moreover, the Supreme Court, in a cowardly move, did not stand for those rights. Already, women in the state of Texas are seeking abortions in other states, which requires traveling great distances and resources.
This is serious. This is what the religious fundamentalists that seek to control women and hoard power have been working for for decades.
I got into the sexuality field precisely because of my activist work in college on reproductive rights and justice. The connection between sexual freedom, racial justice, economic justice and reproductive justice is undeniable.
We know that when abortion is not legal, safe and accessible, women die, especially poor women. We have no perfect birth control and women will get pregnant when they don’t want to and they will seek help to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. If abortion is not legal and accessible, women will go underground and do what they must to end that pregnancy, even putting their own lives at risk.
Why do we know this? History. This is not a mystery. We know women die when abortion is not accessible to them.
I was pregnant twice as a teen. Once in high school when I was 16 and knew literally nothing about birth control because I had ZERO sex education in my three high schools, and then again in college when I was 19, had received the sex education and was taking birth control and being responsible. I found out that antibiotics and birth control don’t go together the hard way. No one told me.
I did not want kids. I had my whole life ahead of me. I was so scared. It is terrifying to be pregnant when you do not want to be. It can feel lonely and the unknown of what is upon you is a heavy burden. People with penises will NEVER know that burden. To know that your life’s fate lies in your ability to access healthcare that is our right, in a country where the conservative men in power would do anything to control women is harrowing.
I ache for the women in Texas. I ache that we still live in a country so backward that one group of people thinks they can control all the others and they do everything in their power to make that so. It’s the Handmaid’s Tale in 2021.
Every human being gets to determine when and if they bear children. No person who does not want a child should be forced to have one. No child should be born to parents who do not want them or are ill-equipped to raise them. It’s cruel.
Our bodies are ours to make choices about, always. We are seeing this play out right now culturally around COVID-19 and we cannot for one moment or one issue remove anyone’s right to make decisions over their own body, healthcare and well-being. If we take it away for one thing, it can be taken away for many more. It is indeed a dangerous slippery slope.
Your body is yours. You decide what happens to it and how you will treat any health issue you have. You decide if you will have children and when. You decide who you will share it with sexually.
We must stand with the majority of people in Texas who believe in the right to choose and fight for these rights that our forebears already fought and died for. This is beyond unacceptable and that the conservative majority Supreme Court opinion was unsigned is telling. They know how wrong this is—so much so that they didn’t sign their names to it.
The other part of this that we need to take a hard look at is that Texas went so far as to create a bounty of $10,000 for anyone who “catches” someone aiding a woman to access an abortion. This is harkening back to the racial segregation of the south and the bounties people received for catching Black folks they claimed were slaves.
We have targets on our backs and they will stop at nothing if we let this go on. We cannot. The repercussions of this are so big. We cannot go backwards. Get active. Do something to support efforts to overturn this absurd law.