“If only my uterus could shoot bullets …
… then it wouldn’t need regulation”.
I saw this slogan on an umbrella in the crowd at the Stand With Texas Women event last week. It succinctly conveyed my thoughts on two important topics. Then I heard that one of our greatest champions, Lindy Boggs, passed away and thought about the legislation being enacted in a number of states to roll back women’s reproductive rights.
The real imperialism, the real oppression, the real political slavery, is the intrusion of power from without into a local condition — Benjamin Ide Wheeler, 1908
I cannot imagine a more local condition than our personal human (or any, for that matter, a discussion for another time) organism. It is hard to believe we are still discussing it, much less debating who will control the female body: government (unless it is offering lawful protective safety and security) or women themselves.
Since this intricate topic has been covered so thoroughly by legal, ethical, political, and biological experts, I am concerned by just one small but critical issue: the apparent offense of being strong while female.
Discussions on abortion are so emotional that it seems futile to attempt any exchange of ideas on the topic these days since my own views do not fall into any neat category. But, I am still nagged by the question of why anyone would try to interfere with someone else’s uterus (let’s say, for example, Governor Ultrasound)? I can only surmise (excluding religious conviction as well as fiscal motives) that they are threatened by the idea of the continually expanding independent female cohort and all the gains made by women who now surpass men in key benchmarks such as college graduation rates and head-of-household income, to name just two. I know I am not original in viewing reproductive rights this way, but I think it is pivotal to this entire baffling saga.
More troubling than errant males who fear capable women taking over the decision making (I guess), are women who also labor under the misbegotten assumption that they have to give up spine in order to be appealing.
Need I point to the endless number of inspirational, courageous, accomplished women who have managed to be every bit as much Athena as Aphrodite? We can look around the world to women in positions of power and influence (not to set aside accomplished, beautiful women in other worthy endeavors in academia, business, the arts, sciences, law, medicine, etc.) in Burma, India, Pakistan, Africa, Brazil, Argentina. These individuals overcame societal norms far more repressive than ours to lead their countries in a new direction by rising above their male counterparts to win top leadership positions and execute them successfully. And most did so while raising a family and epitomizing female accomplishment in all the traditional senses of that term.
Certainly Lindy Boggs was one and she achieved it in a more chauvinist and inhibiting era than this one, firing Southern charm all the while.
Her example alone should give women in this country, particularly those in the beleaguered states now facing draconian restrictions, ample ammunition to fiercely defend their rights to govern their own bodies.