I don’t want to be here
I hate that I’m writing this. I hate that this is happening and that it needs to be addressed. As you’ve probably seen and heard, the American state of Georgia has passed the strictest abortion bill in the country. Technically it’s not “ban.” However, it criminalizes abortion after six weeks–which is well before the vast majority of people know they are pregnant. It’s a very dangerous backdoor abortion ban. The penalty for breaking this ban could be life in prison or even the death penalty. Even women who miscarry may be investigated. Many other states have and are trying to pass similar heartbeat bills and it’s a horrific human rights violation.
The unfortunate reality is America’s current administration (and society at large) undervalues, even hates, women, especially women of colour. These bills are not about saving children. They’re not about babies. These politicians (largely old, white, cis, hetero men) don’t give a fuck about women or their fetuses. What they care about is who is in control. They are offended by the idea of women making their own choices. Just like when it comes to rape and rape culture–the issue isn’t about sex. It’s about who’s deciding whether or not to have sex. Women making their own choices and taking control of their lives and bodies is seen as an affront to men in power. Because men see it as a threat to their power. And that’s what it’s all about: power.
Anti-choice proponents often use “morality” as a way to oppressed marginalized groups. Women are certainly no exception. When you’re arguing the morality of abortion, you’re not talking about the real issue. It’s a distraction from the questions that should be discussed. It’s not about babies. It’s not even about liking abortion. It’s about women having the right to autonomy over their own bodies. Why should anyone make decisions about someone else’s life and body?
It’s not just America
If you live outside the US, don’t think that makes you safe from this issue. The blatant lies, propaganda, and hate from some of the world’s most power people (gag) causes harmful ripple effects in the world. Recently, a conservative Canadian politician said he wanted to make abortion “unthinkable in our lifetime.”
This is an incredibly frightening thing for a Canadian politician to say for a litany of reasons. The first and most obvious is that this (white cis hetero) man in power spoke in an official capacity suggesting that this human right should become “unthinkable.” The premier of Ontario, Doug Ford (gag), skirted the issue and did not directly confirm or deny this sentiment in his own comments.
The actions of Americans (politicians and their followers as well) are having a profound effect on the Canada–it’s just happening a little bit slower. People with hateful views that were once taboo in public are having a field day spewing their hatred. They’ve moved from basements and chat rooms to public rallies, hate crimes, books, legislature, and more. This is a threat we have to take seriously in Canada. For example, in 2013, almost half of Canadian Premiers were women. Now there are none. Not only does this highlight the degradation of respect for women in positions of power, but it also shows us the direction Canada is taking. And it’s the same one as the US.
There is a Canadian federal election in the fall. Do we want the conservatives to win? To have our country run by the party that anti-choice MPP and Doug Ford belong to? This is a very strong possibility, especially because Canadians have all become disillusioned with Trudeau and his government. Sure there is the NDP. But would they be able to get enough support to win?
Now is the time to speak up and organize. Now is the time to support feminist organizations and media. We have to put our money where our mouth so to speak. If you are able, make donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood. Subscribe or donate to independent media like Bitch, BUST, Ms., etc. Get involved with your local organizations, and don’t stay silent; combat every lie with the truth.
*NB: I used the term women throughout this post as women generally are the ones experiencing this issue. However, I know that this affects all people with uteruses, no matter their gender. Not all women have a uterus and not all people who have a uterus are women.*
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Beth O’Brien is a library assistant and book blogger. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada, she lives in picturesque Nova Scotia with her cat Edith. You can often find her rocking double denim with her nose in a book and a craft beer in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @fuelldbyfiction.