FIRESTARTER HOTSHEET: THE HANDMAIDENS TALE

My maternal grandmother said, “You can’t make grown folk do nothing.”

I am inclined to agree. Now, in 2019, in the states Alabama and Missouri it is all but illegal to be a sexually active, sentient woman. In the Bible Belt, where people have no real issue with police sanctioned murder, abuses of power, but won’t believe the Saviour isn’t white, it is now illegal to perform or be granted an abortion after 8 weeks.

This bill was conceived by a woman, championed by men, and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. I wish I could say I was surprised. I wish I could say I was so upset and heartbroken. But my intellect won’t let me be that blind.

In a nation where 53% of White women decided that a man who admitted the best way to get what you want from a woman is to treat her bad. The same man that thinks its okay to grab up women, and thinks nothing of sympathizing with White Supremacists. Why should anything, absolutely anything, that happens in the part of the country that still believes people of color are still just a little less than anyone else, surprise you?

Why does a White woman signing something this egregious into law shock you? She’s only doing the thing her foremother, Susan B. Anthony said to do. Don’t believe me? Here’s the quote (taken from Black Women & The Suffrage Movement):

As the movement progressed, others spoke loudly, including Susan B. Anthony, who stated, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” White and Black women fought among and between themselves over the best course of action. Sojourner Truth, who had already experienced her own personal struggle toward freedom from slavery, remained unwavering in her support of women’s rights. In her unique way, Sojourner commented on the issue in 1867, when female suffrage was still very much being debated: “I feel that I have the right to have just as much as a man. There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and colored women not theirs, the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.”

Most women don’t know they are pregnant until they are at about this point in gestation. Most men don’t know where a clitoris, the labia minora or the G-spot is–so how are you allowed to regulate what you don’t understand? And won’t bother to learn about? Most men don’t know (outside people affiliated in biological sciences) how to calculate a menstrual cycle–or even what structures are involved to for ovulation, which is before a menstrual cycle (without which, no woman can conceive)–and where implantation of a fertilized zygote goes?

I find it abhorrent that a woman would back and create this and back it. As a woman, I never felt more like livestock. As if my womanhood was for sale. I have never felt more empathy, sympathy for my foremothers whom stood on auction blocks as if they were horses, mules or cattle. I have never felt such disappointment among Christian clergy that are silent. Or silently supportive of this. I implore you: do not drag God into confusion. Do not drag the Almighty, whom made me woman and fertile, into what you desire to police and control!

I believe in the sanctity of life. For me, few things have been more demanding and rewarding as motherhood. I also know that being pro-life does not mean what some believe it does. Pro-birth wants women to be pregnant simply because you are able to become pregnant. That seems punitive. No woman, no matter her socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, should be deprived of healthcare–up and including abortion. You cannot make a woman keep or want something that she does not!

Help me make it make sense.

The conservative Christian right wants to be pro-life–as long as the woman or family never needs help. As long as the mother doesn’t ask for the state to help her. Or has a healthy husband. Is gainfully employed. Or isn’t a 11-year-old rape victim. Or isn’t a woman who doesn’t want to see her child die from Tay-Sachs. Isn’t a woman whom has cancer and the radiation will/might kill the baby along with her. As long as she doesn’t have a miscarriage. As long as she doesn’t value her life over the life of her child.

Make no mistake, adulthood is rife with hard situations. From those situations adults have to make selfish, or difficult, or heart-wrenching decisions–aside from what other people think. In matters of overall sexual health, abortion is an option. It is an option. It should remain an option! Any woman whom has this procedure, doesn’t really shout about it. I do not dare speak for all women, for the reasons for this procedure differ across race and culture (Let’s not forget in India where women were forced to abort female fetuses). Before you get sanctimonious, and think this can’t happen in this country, this bill passed in Alabama. By a woman.

Now, in my home state of Missouri.

Next up? Virginia and Ohio.

You cannot take rights or the power of decision from people because you don’t like their critical thinking. Or dislike they have any semblance of power. You cannot ask women to be devoid of options because your opinion of them is so low. Women are not cattle, are not cursed or less than. We should be allowed to maintain autonomy because autonomy should be synonymous with freedom?

Are women not free?

Should women not be free?

Does not being free require the ability to say “No” without consequence, even to determine those consequences? Or is this whole debacle because sperm/embryos/fetuses/babies/children are half male. There is nothing more than fragile or toxic masculinity hates more than loss of power or lack of control. Unless, these evil men can determine when and where life begins and ends, should, does it not exist? Do women, as an extension of men, should only exist to serve men?

With the signing of this bill, the state has decided my body is property and profit to offspring. I am little more than a dairy cow. I am no longer able to make a decision about my body–even though I know me better than anyone. Yet, #alllivesmatter, right?

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