Today is not for learning about 101 level feminism. Today is calling down from pulpit the rage and the anger against the systematic oppression of women in our society. If you’re not “down” with Patriarchy and what it entails, I’m not here to explain it to your special snowflakyness (at least not today).
Today, friends, we address a structural question that I rarely see mentioned in the abortion debate. It is a relationship between the amount of freedom women possess in a society and said women’s access to reproductive health services – covering contraception, abortion and all shades of family planning. The correlation being that as women become full fledged members of society they gain the right to decide what is best for themselves and their families contrary to established patriarchal norms.
Women when not chained to strict reproductive roles gain freedom in society. When women can control their fertility they can choose to join the public sphere (or not) and contribute in more ways than just propagating the species. How bad was it, let’s look at what women were fighting for in 1922.
“WHEREAS, Women today, although enfranchised, are still in every way subordinate to men before the law, in government, in educational opportunities, in professions, in the church, in industry, and in the home:
“BE IT RESOLVED, That as a part of our campaign to remove all form of the subjection of women, we shall work for the following immediate objects:
“That women shall no longer be regarded and shall no longer regard themselves as inferior to men, but the equality of the sexes shall be recognized.
“That women shall no longer be the governed half of society, but shall participate equally with men in the direction of life.
“That women shall no longer be denied equal educational opportunities with men, but the same opportunities shall be given to both sexes in all schools, colleges, and universities which are supported in any way by public funds.
“That women shall no longer be barred from any occupation, but every occupation to men shall be open to women and restrictions upon the hours, conditions and remuneration of labor shall apply alike to both sexes.
“That women shall no longer be discriminated against in the legal, the medical, the teaching, or any other profession, but the same opportunities shall be given to women as to men in training for professions and in the practice of these professions.
“That women shall no longer receive less pay than men for the same work, but shall receive equal compensation for equal work in public and private employment.
“That women shall no longer be barred from the priesthood or ministry, or any position of authority in the church, but equally with men shall participate in ecclesiastical offices and dignites.
“That a double moral standard shall no longer exist, but one code shall obtain for both men and women.
“That exploitation of the sex of women shall no longer exist, but women shall have the same right to control of their persons as have men.
“That women shall no longer be discriminated against in treatment of sex diseases and in punishment of sex offenses, but men and women shall be treated in the same was for sex diseases and sex offenses.
“That women shall no longer be deprived of the right of trial by a jury of their peers, but jury service shall be open to women as to men.
“That women shall no longer be discriminated against in inheritance laws, but men and women shall have the same right to inherit property.
“In short – That women shall no longer be in any form of subjection to man in law to custom, but shall in every way be on an equal plane in rights, as she has always been and will continue to be, in responsibilities and obligations.
They understood back then what was required to be free, to be treated equally and fairly in society because women at the time (1922) they were NOT. Not legal persons under the law, but rather owned property of men, slavery all but in name, so to speak.. Look at our rape laws to see how women are viewed as property rather than as a person. Its chilling.
Enter the “pro-life” movement, more accurately, the forced-birth, anti-choice, anti-woman legion that is blithely serving the patriarchy attempting to remove women’s hard won bodily autonomy. Denuding women of their rights serves only to force them back down the ladder of equality where once again they can be solely defined by their biological fecundity. Our forced-birther friends know only one date from history, January 21st, 1973 Roe Vs. Wade. They fail, consistently, to see that women’s control of their bodies is the cornerstone of women’s rights as a whole. Chipping away at female personhoood is what these misguided fetus-worshipping individuals excel at. They pine for the days when women were at the mercy of their reproductive systems and enslaved by the patriarchal system surrounding them.
There is no “Golden Age” to aspire to when it comes to women and their rights, the time for action and activism is now, because the counter-revolution is pushing back with unparalleled ferocity. Fuelled by ignorance and religion (redundant I know.) the anti-choice contingent screams for justice for the unborn, ignoring the real living breathing women who do not want any more constraints on their autonomy. Ignoring women is a specialty of the patriarchy, make sure you are smiling while we remove your rights.
The pro-life platform is nothing more than a set of patriarchal shackles for women; why so many women want to get them fitted and locked on again is entirely beyond me.