With all the chaos upending Washington right now, the topic of abortion and the status of Roe v. Wade is quickly recentering itself and becoming the topic of much conversation.
Let’s get one thing straight: controlling a woman’s body is the absolute definition of patriarchy. Full stop.
As of right now, anti-abortion groups and activists are working tirelessly to close down abortion clinics across the country. As a result of their efforts, these activists have successfully closed down clinics in many cities — even clinics here in San Diego County. Thanks to their efforts, there are now seven states with only one abortion clinic available to its citizens.
Make no mistake, any attempt to restrict women of their right to choose is an attack on their existence and an assault on their humanity. In no way does some congressman from Alabama, the hot head in the oval or the six old white men in the highest court in the nation have the agency to tell any woman what to do with her body.
And despite all arguments to the contrary, a woman’s decision to have an abortion is tremendously responsible, courageous and commendable.
Consider the financial strain, the emotional, physical and mental trauma that some women endure during and after their decision. Once they’ve weighed out all of their options. Once they’ve officially deemed themselves incapable of having this baby while simultaneously being able to care for themselves, their family and other responsibilities.
This is an incredibly difficult decision for her. But it is her decision. Her executive decision on her life, over her body. And that is her fundamental right.
Controlling a woman’s body will not only affect her psychologically and emotionally, but it’ll also impact her future. It’ll affect what jobs are available to her, what education she’ll be able to obtain, her income.
Essentially, every single aspect of her life.
And as long as men who can’t possibly understand what bearing a child is like continue to exert their ignorance and privilege by making decisions on experiences they will never have, women will never achieve any sort of existence beyond second-class citizenship.
As Roe v. Wade hangs on a limb, we risk reverting back to the days where women were forced to take the matter into their own hands. This comes in many forms — clothes hangers, opium, leeches up vaginas and much more. With these dangerous abortion methods, women run the risk of permanent harm or even death.
In fact, black women will feel the impact of a possible Roe v. Wade reversal the hardest.
As it’s black women who are disproportionately impacted by efforts to restrict legal abortion.
But, one thing activists must keep in mind is if abortion is made illegal, women will find a way. As they have for years. The abolition of Roe v. Wade only means that illegal abortions will increase and deaths will, too.
So, if Republicans and bible-thumping Christians really care about life, then what about the woman’s life? Whose lives do they care about? That of an unborn fetus? Or that of a living, breathing human?
Another thing to consider, if these same men in Congress and these same Christians actually cared so much about life, where were they when Michael Brown was shot to death and left to lie in a pool of his own blood for four hours? Where were they when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot for simply being a kid? Where were they when Trayvon Martin was hunted down like an animal for doing nothing more than grabbing a snack and existing?
It seems as if, instead of protesting in front of abortion clinics and projecting their religion and pseudo-Christian morals onto others, they should keep that same energy and apply that same protection to the lives of black folk who lose their lives every single day at the hands of police officers. They should instead pause those abortion clinic protests, and go protest in front of police stations and congressional offices.
Police stations where the culture of racial antagonism is put into practice and applied to the killing of black boys and men and congressional offices where the people we put into office remain inactive and indifferent to these deaths.
Both either take human life, enable the taking of human life or both.
If these activists truly cared about the preservation of human life, they’d value all life.
There’s something about women being independent of themselves and their bodies that bother men so much. To the point where they will literally wage a war on women, or run on platforms directly related to controlling their bodies.
The idea that women could be seen as equal to men is a disturbing thought. The thought that they’ll no longer have control over women is terrifying. They’ll do anything they can to preserve their power.
Even if it means spewing inaccuracies about Planned Parenthood. Calling for it to be defunded, when no federal dollars even actually fund Planned Parenthood. Or pedaling the false narrative that Planned Parenthood deals primarily with abortion, when in fact it helps women with a number of different things. Such as birth control, HIV testing, pap smears and other services that help women live long, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Another fun fact: 90 percent of women have abortions in their first trimester, yet members in Congress spend most of their time talking about the small percentage that doesn’t.
If we’re going to argue about abortion, let’s do it in a way that involves actual science and facts. Your religion does not belong in politics and is especially not applicable to women and their bodies.
You cannot continue to bully women into doing things that go against our safety, our health or our made-up minds.
Ultimately, women deserve to make decisions about their lives. This decision is between the women, their families, their doctors and their religious figure(s). Not between hundreds of old white men on the senate or house floor.
The idea that men have the future of our reproductive health in their hands is a terrifying thought. Especially when we consider the fact that throughout history, whether it was voting rights, reproductive justice or really any sort of stride that women have made toward equality in the last few decades, we see that men have made very little effort to alleviate women of their pain and suffering. Instead, they’ve placed their feelings and so-called religious values above women, their health, safety and autonomy. We can’t expect them to make these critical decisions for women when our best interests have never been their concern.
For this reason, we can’t depend on the men to get it right. We have to resist their attempts to strip women of their civil rights by voting the men who treat women and their humanity as a game of politics, out of office.
Kemi Giwa is a senior studying public relations and political science. You can follow her on Twitter @_KemiG.