Thursday, March 10, 2016

H 3114

I always write my best words in the early morning hours.  Unfortunately, I write them in my head as I lay in bed wishing I could catch another hour's sleep.  This morning, I was writing words of anger at the fact -- the fact -- of the obscene twenty-week abortion ban, the obscenely named "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" becoming law.

In a state that continues to rank above average in infant mortality, in which our governor has proudly fought federal health care for the poor, our legislature continues to waste our time and precious dollars on bills that would force women to turn their reproductive health over to the government.

In a state where gun violence rules families and neighborhoods, bills promoting the unabashed toting of weapons are as plentiful as, well, as anti-abortion bills.

But over the past years there has been a growing movement, voices that will be heard over the misogynists that have run amok over our state governments.

The headlines began in 2012 with two women representatives being banned from the Michigan House floor after Lisa Brown said the word "vagina" while speaking. 

In 2013 a woman in the Texas legislature, Wendy Davis, in pink sneakers, filibustered an anti-abortion bill that would close abortion clinics throughout the state.

Over these past years, women have come forward to talk about their abortions, no longer hiding from public opinion, realizing that unless we can put faces to the right to have an abortion, that right will be lost.

And each indignity, each lie, has added fuel to our fire.  From Hobby Lobby claiming religious freedom as the principle from which they could deny an employee contraceptive care, to the false identities used to film and edit a meeting with representatives of Planned Parenthood, women are realizing they have had enough and they are fighting back.  The younger generation, those who do not have memories from before Roe v. Wade, are aware that this important freedom is being jeopardized.  And they are pissed off.

Not too long ago, I worried that young woman, because they had always had this right, would not see that it was at risk.  I was wrong.  You can see it all over the media these days.

There is Amy Schumer's "ask your doctor" video and Samantha Bee's segment on Texas' attacks on abortion clinics ("How does removing access to health care improve health care?").  And John Oliver recently turned his pen to a scathing indictment of Texas HB 2, that bill that Wendy Davis filibustered against in 2013 and which is now being challenged in the Supreme Court.  

I have often whined about the failure of movies to show abortion as a normal medical option, but that is happening too.  Grandma, with Lily Tomlin, is a breath of fresh air and a paean to the strength of women who have had to endure the pressure and the venom of the anti-abortionist while making such an important and personal decision.

Yes, I think we have all had it.  Right now it is the Supreme Court hearing regarding that awful Texas bill that has closed most clinics in the state for reasons having nothing to do with women's safety and everything to do with limiting access.  But it is also the fact that more women (and girls), denied access to safe abortions, are seeking information on how to self-abort.  It has come down to life and death, to the days of coat hangars and back alleys, once again.

And because of this, woman are willing to fight, for themselves, for their daughters and their mothers.  Men are standing up and fighting for the women that they love and respect, who should have the right to the best health care and to make the best choices without government interference.

So while my sleep-riddled words this morning were variations on the angry and mocking words I have written before, as I became fully awake it occurred to me that H 3114 is one more step towards taking our bodies and our rights back.  We have fought hard and learned that there is no way that reason can influence those mean-spirited and intellectually limited narcissists in our state legislatures.  But armies of women can make enough noise, as we have before, and change those legislatures.

I am looking forward to women, young and old, standing up to run against the tyrants, with loud and fearless voices.  They may not have the corporate money of the right-wing, but they have the power of the cause.  I have said before that when we take back our government and our rights, it will not be with candidates who are cautious and try not to ruffle the electorate.  We are the electorate, and there really are more of us that want our rights protected.  If we aren't afraid to fight, we will eventually win.

So just as the Texas bill was weaseled into law, so goes H 3114.  But that is not the end of the fight.  It is a battle that has energized those of us who truly value life and freedom, and we will not let it go so easily.

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