If in some aching dreams you too could pace
sleepless with the choice we find ourselves in,
and hear the fear and loathing we will face
as people tell us aught we do is sin;
If you could feel, with every cramp, the blood
ready to gush forth from ectopic wound
to salve your conscience in its crimson flood
and leave behind my lifeless form marooned,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To women ardent for a martyr’s glory,
The new lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro blastocyte mori.

With homage to Wilfred Owen and respect to veterans, I would like to point out that the war on women is still going strong. So-called personhood was defeated in Mississippi. Almost 60% of people voted against giving fertilized eggs all the rights of corporations  people, which would take away fundamental rights (like life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness) from the real, live people who would become little more than incubators.

I’m happy that it was defeated, believe me. But that vote was the result of tremendous work by women’s rights organizations, and even after major investments of time and money, somehow 40% of voters still thought the bill was a good idea. Why are we even having to fight this fight in the first place?

But fear not! Personhood USA is going to expand its efforts and bring similar legislation to more states. Satan won’t win every time, they insist. Others are misappropriating the history of the Holocaust to try to convince people that it’s a good thing to let women die. And in the next election cycle, graphic, gory ads may be coming to a TV near you – but they won’t show the horror of the pre-Roe days.

That’s my war today. It’s one I was drafted into the minute I was born with a uterus and a disability. And in that metaphor, I desperately want to become a veteran, to lay down arms (and coat hangers) and rest secure in my person and in my right to appropriate health care. So I pray, today, for all the veterans of the past, and for current wars to end so that there are more veterans and fewer soldiers, and I reflect on the value of life and how I fight for it.

6 thoughts on “From the trenches of the war on women

  1. We are getting ready (my state, that is) to defeat this mendacious crap for the third time.
    It has lost by an avalanche -every- time, and yet somehow it still keeps making the ballot, in more and more extreme forms. Hell, last time, it was proposed that unfertilized eggs have full personhood. No word about the sacredness of sperm.

    More veterans and fewer soldiers is right. May it be so.

    1. It occurs to me, when we talk about this stuff being put on the ballot time and time again, that there’s also something interesting going on here in terms of what it means for a group to have “rights” in this country, and how those get enforced (legislatively, judicially, etc). I sense the potential for deep hypocrisy between this campaign for “rights” and the far right’s complaints about rights like marriage equality. Have to think about it…

  2. Can you imagine `society“ tolerating any group that election after election challenged the rights of men. It is fairly clear, by this point, that any rights that women have in the United States are provisional and subject to recall at any point in time.

  3. There’s an article about Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood in the latest issue of The New Yorker.
    Jill Lepore writes about Sanger’s trial, in 1917, for breaking the New York state laws about distributing contraceptives or any information about birth control:

    Sanger hoped to argue that the law preventing the distribution of contraception was unconstitutional: exposing women, against their will, to the danger of dying in childbirth violated woman’s right to life. But the judge ruled that no woman had “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.” In other words, if a woman wasn’t willing to die in childbirth, she shouldn’t have sex. Sanger went to Queens County Penitentiary. She was sentenced for thirty days.

    Lepore also notes that the strictures against contraception had the strongest impact on poor women. Women of the upper classes apparently found their way around the restrictions. Referring to efforts during the 1920’s to lobby Congress :

    the very men who refused to change the law had wives who broke it: congressional families had an average of 2.7 children…Senator James Reed, of Missouri, told the lobbyists that “Birth Control is chipping away at the foundation of our civilization,” that “women should have many children and that poverty is no handicap but rather an asset.” Henry Ashurst, a senator from Arizona, said that he “had not been raised to discuss this matter with women.”

    Apparently, some of our elected leaders would like to go back to those good old days, when they could just tell women to shut up and go away.

    No shut up!
    Hell no shut up!

    1. Thanks – I’ll have to go read that. Copulate…sweet FSM, it’s hard to remember that (as mmy pointed out) women are not much removed from the status of chattel, or worse, stock.

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