5 Ways to Combat the GOP War on Wombs
It’s time again to stand up for reproductive justice or the “white boy summer” we’re gonna have on our hands is not going to be the fun one from the Memes. Don’t let a new administration, COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, and Olivia Rodrigo trick you in to thinking anything has shifted culturally. In my youth we had Bush Jr., the aftermath of 911, and Avril Lavigne, and yet we are right back where we started so buckle up it’s gonna be a bumpy fight.
5. Call and Donate
Yes I know it sounds like a huge waste of time, daunting, intimidating, or it’s a totally obvious course of action to get in touch directly with policymakers, but imagine Governor Greg Abbott of Texas getting swamped with the angry alcohol induced messages about his fetal heartbeat bill. If you were going to finish off that bottle or six pack and drunk dial your toxic ex anyway, you really don’t have any excuse at all.
Donating to Planned Parenthood is helpful but they get huge million dollar donations all the time from corporations and celebrities. There are lots of organizations that may even be local to your area that are working day and night to not only prevent unwanted pregnancies at the ground level but to continue protecting the reproductive health care resources we so desperately need like: STI testing and treatment, birth control access, HIV prevention and treatment, access to hormones, and pre/post natal care, in addition to providing safe and affordable abortions. Like Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco, who is always in need of donor support. Do a little googling to find one in your city.
4. Stop South Shaming
Not gonna lie, liberal smugness is a huge problem and it’s not easy to overcome when all people are concerned about is not looking like they are problematic. You have to actually want to stop being problematic for it to work. This is why it’s important to for people living in places like California and NYC to stop thinking of these issues as “not our problem” and that people in Tennessee and Mississippi are just uneducated hicks who are a-ok with 99 year sentences for abortion recipients. The South is full of good people in the crossfire of white supremacy, a Christian crusade for morality laws, and an age old class war and they deserve more of our respect. It is Alabama that’s famous for the 1960s fight for Civil Rights after all. Sometimes the most creative and impactful tactics come from the most desperate moments of the battle.
3. Know your Herstory
One of the things the right wing loves to throw in the faces of pro-choice liberals is that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a racist who subscribed to a belief in Eugenics.
Eugenics is an archaic racist pseudoscientific belief that peoples’ behaviors and leanings towards lives of crime are determined by one’s genetic make up. And it’s true, Margaret Sanger did believe in Eugenics. She was probably a big ol’ racist, and a big motivator in starting the organization was to cut down on unwanted pregnancies within what she determined to be a problem community, Black people in East New York City.
However, the one thing this ugly truth is good at doing is ignoring the fact that PEOPLE WILL STILL HAVE ABORTIONS NO MATTER WHAT. THEY JUST WONT BE SAFE ABORTIONS!!! The amount of people who have died from receiving inadequate, unsafe abortions, is infinitely more important than the personal beliefs of some racist lady who died a century ago AS IF! Plus imho the real reason the GOP wants to keep these unwanted children is to keep their well oiled prison labor and military running, which depends on uneducated people from impoverished communities continuing to get knocked up.
2. Know Your Science
Knowing your way around a potentially toxic conversation about abortion is definitely important. With so much infighting amongst the left, it’s important to regard the wide range of experiences many of us have with reproductive justice and our bodies/autonomy. Like when senatorial candidate Todd Akin denied the reality of pregnancy originating from rape because the human body has a way of “shutting it all down” he was obviously wrong. But it was definitely telling of the kinds of education that people making these harmful policies are coming to the table with.
Another way we can be stronger together is to stop using gendered language around this issue. Notice how I use phrases like “reproductive rights” instead of “women’s rights” or talking about peoples’ wombs or pregnancies rather than women’s wombs or pregnancies? This is not only because Trans and non-binary people exist, but also because for too long abortion has remained a “women’s issue”. It wouldn’t seem that way when you see the guys making so many policies against it. And yes I agree that womb owners should be at the forefront of conversations on this matter, which I am not. For the most part though, everyone needs to get involved in reproductive justice while taking responsibility for the sexual health of themselves and their partners.
1. Be A Man About It
Yes you read that right, and I know what you’re thinking, did I just read an article about reproductive justice by a man identified person that just re-centered men at the end? Or maybe you weren’t thinking about that part at all, which is also an appropriate response. We don’t have to use the word “Man”. We can try “Be a Champ” or my personal fav “Time to Daddy Up” but the point remains. We have to stop leaving it up to our moms, sisters, friends, coworkers, neighbors, girlfriends/wives/partners to fight these battles on their own.
Men on the Right have no problem inserting themselves into conversations about wombs and we need to stand up as well. But we don’t do this by saying we support abortion and describing under which terms we do so. And we don’t stand up by embodying the persona of a straight white male feminist crusader (cuz lets be real guys, its kind of suspect when you try that hard).
We stand up by reinforcing the idea that everyone is the owner of their own body, that sexual health is a responsibility for both partners, that consent culture is fundamental to the future of humankind, and that Ben Shapiro has never made his wife have an orgasm.
This goes a really long way because we live in a world that constantly looks to some of the most regular mediocre men to answer life’s most complex and loaded questions… and you never know when that man could be you. Plus it seems like high time to give some of these people who are always fighting so hard for themselves a day off every once in a while.