Are you fucking kidding me?
“You knew it was an issue you didn’t have to really get into the granular level in. But we’re now there, and we’re recognizing that this is pretty hard work.”
That’s Indiana State Senator Rodric Bray talking about the “hard work” of crafting a state abortion ban, now that the Supreme Court revoked a right that women relied on for 50 years, and instead gave feckless legislators like Rodric Bray control over our bodies.
You’d think, if you cared so much, you would have gotten a little more “granular” about it, Rodric? Right? What am I missing?
All across the nation, The New York Times reports, misogynist legislators who didn’t get around to enacting “trigger” bans to outlaw abortion if Roe fell are having a very hard time. Almost as hard a time as a woman with an ectopic pregnancy would have finding care in a state like, say, Texas.
In Rodric Bray’s Indiana, Republicans can’t decide whether they want an absolute ban, or whether they want to make it “Swiss cheese…so many holes,” in the words of one state anti-choice lobbyist. The Swiss cheese approach would make exceptions in cases of rape, or incest, or the pregnant person’s life being endangered. The abortion ban that just passed the state House had exceptions to protect the life of the mother, and for cases of rape and incest—but only if the victim signed an affidavit to that effect “early.” But it might not survive with those provisions.
Do you people know how hard it is for victims of rape and incest to talk about their trauma, ever? Let alone “early.” (I looked and didn’t see how “early” is defined.)
Do you people know anything about women’s bodies, or women’s lives?
I am the stereotype of a boomer feminist liberal: I didn’t believe the Supreme Court would completely overturn Roe. I got a little boost Thursday from CNN’s reporting that Chief Justice John Roberts was trying to build a majority to slash abortion rights but still uphold some version of Roe. That’s how I thought it would come down. More restrictions, but still the basic right intact. Somehow, somewhere. But the early-May leak of the draft opinion, and the news that it was supported by the majority, put an end to Roberts’s consensus-conservative dream.
Now we’re living in this apocalyptic post-Roe world, where even people who were ready for this moment didn’t totally seem to understand how awful it would be. I’m struck by the alarming number of stories of women who wanted to have children, but wound up with ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages and found themselves caught up in this health dystopia. I don’t mean to privilege those women’s lives over those seeking abortion for other reasons. But it does show how little these cavemen know about us—and how much less they care.
I’m accustomed to hearing stories about courageous abortion providers in red states, keeping on serving our constitutional rights. But now we’re hearing about doctors and hospital ethics committees who are shocking cowards, who won’t even help women at risk for death from miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, even though states like Texas are belatedly clarifying that their punitive abortion bans don’t apply to such treatment (although the laws are still bewildering). Women with rheumatoid arthritis can’t get methotrexate, a reliable pain-relief treatment that can also be used in abortion care.
Of course the teenager who winds up pregnant, the mother of two or three who can’t provide for another child, the 20- or 30- or 40-something who is still figuring out her own life path, and can’t factor in a baby–they are all at risk, and they all deserve our shout-it-out-loud support. Still, I think the idiocy of state legislators who don’t know how women’s bodies work, and who put at risk even some of their female allies, even some who are trying, desperately, to have children, is worth the attention it’s getting.
Because maybe it’s a wake-up call to other women, and men, who haven’t given this issue the “granular” attention poor Rodric Bray of Indiana is having to give it now. I know people like that. Raised Catholic, I had to struggle with the teaching on abortion. But I never could figure out a better person to decide what to do with her pregnancy than the woman herself. When I became pregnant, I realized the great gift of abortion: that every child can be a wanted child.
So to me, this is not hard, and never has been hard. To others, it’s maybe been something they haven’t had to think much about, and could defer to their church or their most-opinionated friend for their view. But now it’s becoming clear these white Christian nationalists don’t know about women’s bodies, or women’s lives, and they don’t care. And that includes the women on their side. I shiver when I think about Justice Amy Coney Barrett saying pregnancy is no longer a big deal since there are now “safe surrender” sites where women can leave their newborn babies if they’d rather not raise them. That shows she knows less about women’s lives than a good many men.
More women—more people generally—are going to come up against the savage ignorance of the so-called pro-life minority as these laws take effect, and new ones are passed, as Indiana almost certainly will, even if it’s “hard work.” Indiana, remember, is where the Ohio 10-year-old who’d been raped had to secure an abortion, since it’s banned in her state. Maybe she’ll still be able to get one there—if she signed an affidavit “early.”