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Get Your Hangers Ready

For those of you who haven't heard, South Dakota recently passed a law that criminalizes all abortions, even in capes of rape and incest. The only time some abortions may be permitted, is if the woman's life is in danger. Or, as state Sen. Bill Napoli (R) described such a situation:

"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

So, essentially, Napoli wants abortions to be only available to religious (read: Christian) virgins who are "sodomized as bad as you can possibly imagine it." I mean, honestly! How absurd is this? To only provide reproductive health care to women and girls who are devout Christians and are brutally raped? That is beyond absurd. What about a woman whose HUSBAND rapes her? Or her father? Or boyfriend? Or employer? What about if someone can't afford birth control, can't access emergency contraception..... Okay, the list goes on and on about when women need access to reproductive health care. The fact that South Dakota is denying women the human right of allowing them to have control over their bodies is incredibly damaging. Whether the legislature allows it or not, women WILL have abortions. They will just be back alley abortions with a hanger.

A good friend of mine recently made a joke about hangers and how women are going to be using them soon. At first, I was apalled. She then made me realize that while I should be apalled at such a prospect, it's also important to remember that a) it's not so long ago that women regularly used hangers to have abortions and b) that we are not so far away from returning to that.

Now, I've been talking about reproductive health as if it's only women who need access to abortions. However, we also must remember that many trans individuals who are already denied access to MANY forms of healthcare will stand an even feebler chance at obtaining an abortion. FTM individuals already face terrible transphobia in healthcare. Do you think Sen. Napoli is gonna give a damn if a trans man is brutally raped and impregnated? For some reason, I'm gonna guess that trans folk don't fall into Napoli's protected, Christian, virgin category (even if they are Christian virgins).

Check out Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and North/South Dakota for opportunities on how to take action or donate money to help fight the abortion ban.

In other related news, Wal-Mart is now going to carry emergency contraception in all its stores nationwide. This came as a result of some important work of awesome activists in Massachusetts, and now the policy is being adopted nationwide. One step forward, two steps back....


Mark D. Snyder said...

Great post Alex. Here in Boston, people can join the defend abortion listerv. They confront the local operation rescue everytime they harass the girls at planned parenthood in allston. Check out for their schedules.

Anonymous said...

Interesting...homosexuals support abortion...hmmmmmmmmmmm, what sense does that make? I thought that they were against it because they need to have the opportunity to adopt children?

alex said...

Who ever said we need to adopt children? In my vision of queer (and feminist) politics, we need to reject the cult of the child (see Betty Friedan's _The Feminine Mystique_ or Lee Edelman's _No Future_). Raising, adopting, or birthing children is not the ultimate future, the end goal in everyone's life, despite what most people want us to think (even self-proclaimed radical feminist, Eve Ensler, ends The Vagina Monologues with a monologue on birth, as if that were the final trajectory of every woman's life).

That aside, I believe people deserve the right to control their own bodies and to decide when and how they become pregnant. This has nothing to do with whether or not anyone, queer or otherwise, wants to adopt children.

And by the way.

We're not homosexuals.

We're queers.

queer mom said...

ok alex, agreed.

i have an ecclectic group of adults 18-92 for company for myself and my kids and I let each plan, live, or reminisce respectively on what constitues the watersheds in his/her own life. the 92 year old tends to repeat and repeat...but I digressed. i believe each woman's body is inviolable and she has the right to make each choice for herself safely and sanely.

ditto for my queer mom couple friends who either wanted to adopt, get married, find a surrogate, adopt a caste-off, whatever.

sometimes I grimace from what I perceive to be disdain. don't lump me. I don't like it.

for better or worse, my kids came out of my vagina, and maybe for Eve what's her face the monologue represented the ENTRANCE for each of us into this world, and for her in particular, pain and joy wrapped up together. who knows.

for me life is a continuum of respect. i feel the same way about my kids as I do the passion for the elderly. i am sitting like a see saw poised at that time in my life when I am loving those who will pass soon, and those who have barely entered.

i admire your passion for the regard of the individual choice.