The war on women continues because of course it does.
As I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, the new Texas abortion law has ruffled plenty of feathers throughout the US. The League of Women Voters came up large for Texans, asserting clearly the League’s official position statement on reproductive rights. The current Supreme Court held a shadow docket meeting, effectively avoiding ultimate responsibility for the existentially dangerous law that puts untold numbers of women in harm’s way through the vigilantism and stalking it encourages.
And, let's be clear: I say "existentially" dangerous because women are real, living, breathing humans with hearts beating in our chests. Yes, EVEN those who are seeking abortions!
Humans, I say. H-U-M-A-N-S.
We are not a theoretical or religious notion of life, not a budding combination of cells holding the promise of life at some point in the future. Not embryos. Not feti. Not the possibility of becoming a baby. No. We are not seeds of life. We
ARE life. And now if you are a live woman in Texas who seeks abortion care, you can be stalked. So can your friends who might transport you to a clinic for abortion care. Your friends can become broke if stalkers are awarded $10,000 in a Texas court, ordering your pal to foot the bill.
I wonder what other types of things citizens will be allowed to stalk their neighbors over, now that we have such a law. All the states are watching Texas and how this new law plays out because, let's be honest, culture wars are alive and well, amarite? What's next? We stalk people over what political signs they have in their yard? How about someone getting divorced, and someone else disagrees with that? Are people in LGBTQ going to be next? My point is that this sets a very dangerous precedent. Ross Ramsey of the Texas-Tribune discusses some poignant remarks by a few of the Justices in response to the 5-4 ruling (because, yes, by refusing to rule they did rule). Ramsey had this to say:
Here’s a question: If you can impede someone’s constitutional rights with an odd citizen
enforcement strategy, what’s the limit? Abortion is in that category because the Supreme
Court has ruled that women have such a right. If it can be undermined, other rights, like
voting and speech and all the others, are subject to the same risk.
Where does the infringement on the Constitutional rights of citizens - by other citizens - end? These are scary times, friends. We must stand together as never before in our lifetimes. We've been fed a steady diet of disinformation and division for the last several years. Now we have one of the largest states in the country unleashing its citizens on one another.
But I digress. Moving on . . .
In the joint statement issued by United States Board President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner and League of Women Voters of Texas President Grace Chimene, League leadership said that in SCOTUS’ failure to block the bill, they’ve allowed a “...horrific, anti-woman law to take effect in the state. Not only does this law essentially ban abortion services, but it opens up service providers to unjust lawsuits by private citizens simply for doing their job.”
Justice Sotomayer wrote a harsh rebuke reflecting on the majority decision to decline ruling on the bill, saying, "The Texas State Legislature has deputized the state's citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors' medical procedures . . .” (more on Justice Sotomayer’s dissent, here.) Indiana’s own Women’s Health Advocate Pam Locker has provided a thorough breakdown of the high-risk, controversial law detailing the ramifications of the scope and severity of this law for citizens helping those seeking perfectly legal abortion care, generously shared with our League chapter, here.
There are so many complexities about bodily autonomy for women that are impacted by pregnancy, birth control practices, inherited complications and abortion, that I still want to sort out here. It isn't as cut and dried as I used to think. And it was only when I realized how varied the possibilities are for each woman, and the desire of others to control the choices we can make (sometimes just in order to survive), and yet I can't seem to catch a breath before another blow comes along. For today, I'm ending this post for the purpose of rejuvenating before Monday morning. I encourage you, Dear Reader, to practice some kickass selfcare. There's still time to grab a hot soak in the tub, and maybe tune in to some sick beats. Check out the Womens March Feminist Jams Playlist, HERE (or you can use the embedded version, below).