I just can’t social media anymore. I’m not a very social person to begin with, but my stomach churns whenever I read my social feeds anymore. Especially Facebook.
My Facebook feed is pretty much a endless slog of vomited anger and malice at this point. I find myself trying to not pay attention to anything on it, and concentrate instead on the user groups I’m part of. I just find the whole thing depressing.
Last week’s insanity has been brought to us by a whole slew of cynical Republican State Legislatures who have passed laws for the sole intention of having them be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court. Alabama being the most cynical of the lot 1. This is the nuclear option of zero sum politics, and people are lighting the fuze with a smile on their faces.
It’s pretty sick.
I’m not in favor of abortion in general. I gristle at calling a baby in utero a “glob of cells.” As we’ve advanced our medical technology to the point where a baby in utero can actually be treated as an independent patient, and even operated on, we probably need to consider just what it means to say, “It’s a woman’s body.” Pregnancy is certainly not less, which is pretty much how the Alabama law lays things out, but perhaps it is more. At least, I think that’s something worth having a discussion about.
I also struggle when the rhetoric around abortion which says that men shouldn’t be involved. On one level, I get it. The image of a bunch of grey-haired white men making laws about women’s reproductive health issues is ludicrous. On the other hand, when my wife and I found out we were expecting two years ago had she opted to have an abortion 2 I would have been wounded to my core. My wife isn’t property, it’s not for me to tell her what to do or for her to seek my permission, but that would have hurt. I get the distinct impression sometimes that a number of pro-choice acquaintances I have would have condemned me for feeling that way. That bothers me.
I’m also completely against the recent laws which have been passed. Aside from their cynical starting point, these laws don’t do anything to promote life. Babies will be born – but there’s no provisions for mandatory child support, increased access to contraception or sex education, and nothing about providing prenatal care for these enforced pregnancies. Given that the “pro-life” party also trends toward opposition of universal health, is pro death-penalty, and often seems like it wants to dismantle public education I find myself skeptical of what kind of “life” these folks want to promote. I was always taught that pro-life had to be consistent ethic, and not limited to just the abortion debate. This doesn’t seem to be the case in the current conservative push – now it’s entirely about babies being born, what happens after that simply doesn’t matter. Adding to all this the fact that no provisions are made for those who seek abortions stemming from either rape or incest, I just find these laws cruel.
It’s become my norm any more to find myself caught between two warring factions who are waging a zero-sum game for control of the culture. I’m not sure how much more I can take before my introversion takes over entirely and I become a virtual hermit.
Yes, so much of this all feels gut reactionary–“NY voted for partial-birth abortions? We’ll show them!” What good does any of this do? No one’s sitting and listening. It’s all shouting over one another’s heads.
It’s certainly a play for power.
Nicely stated. As I tell many people I’m personally pro-life and politically pro-choice. Spending 10 minutes in a voting booth doesn’t make you pro-life, and neither does shouting things on social media (much to people’s chagrin).
I’ve not idea where I am politically. I just know I see gaping holes in the current rhetoric and I wish we’d all just step back.
Too many men have not been very good to women for way too long, much in the same way that Caucasian people have not been very good to POC for way too long. Now men want deny women bodily autonomy, as if women (in general) can’t be trusted to choose for themselves, as if men (in general) have a great track record of doing right by… well, pretty much everybody.
As a loud pro-choice friend of yours, I would never scorn you for having feelings over a significant other seeking an abortion. I’m sure it would hurt a great deal. But that hurt wouldn’t give you the right to force a significant other to carry to term and give birth.
And while men might be sad at the thought, the alternative is women – like me, right now – living in terror that their autonomy will be revoked. That talking about family planning with their significant others won’t be enough – that we’ll need to consider what a rapist would think, too. That we will not be safe ever again. My daily worry about this political climate is real, and I can only begin to imagine, with no small amount of fear, where we could end up next.
“But that hurt wouldn’t give you the right to force a significant other to carry to term and give birth.”
I pretty much wrote this very thought in the original post.
“And while men might be sad at the thought, the alternative is women… living in terror.”
Not “sad” which is something that can be dismissed as a a temporary triviality. Try “devastated” – wondering if you could look yourself in the mirror while, and this is pretty much the key, at the same time recognizing that it’s not my call to make.
I’d like to live in a world where women don’t feel like they have to live terrified, and the emotional reality of those who should not be making a decision about carrying a pregnancy to term are treated with awareness and compassion — even if, rightly, they don’t have the same political weight or overarching force.
You should not have to live in fear, I won’t stand by and watch your fears become reality. Just please do not minimize the depth of emotion I’m able to feel, which is what I felt as I read your comment.
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