Earlier this week the CDC came out with recommendations that basically suggest that all women from the onset of their fist period until menopause refrain from drinking alcohol unless they are on birth control in order to reduce the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Because, well, although birth control sometimes fails, it would be ludicrous […]
The bloody scenes of women are always suspect. Our insides, the things our bodies expel – the mucous, the shedding, the clots and clumps of uterine lining and pre-formed babies. We must keep it neat. We must follow the rules. ………………………. “I can’t find you. For three days you’re consumed…. I don’t know where you […]
It’s no secret that no one really cares about women’s safety. Especially not when there’s a fetus at stake. One only needs to look at the current standards of care in birth to see how little we care about women’s health…
My friend, Katie, read a spoken word poem about being treated as a vessel at a pro-choice rally and vigil – I had no idea how powerful it was going to be. A few weeks later we made it to an open mic poetry reading, where she read it again, and this time we recorded […]
Last week, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I held a rally / memorial in my community in support of women’s rights to full bodily autonomy and choice. A friend and clergy member, Jill Terwilliger, wrote a truly beautiful prayer for the event. Jill feels especially called in her work to support feminist and […]
The statistical disparity is telling. Birthing folks are not offered support for their choices. Forced cesareans are the extreme examples of the brutal birth culture of slapping women around until they mouse-up or shut up or say, “yes, sir.” But there are countless other ways birthing people endure harsh treatment, from forced vaginal exams to forced separation from their babies to everything in between. One woman’s gruesome, filmed, forced episiotomy from last year highlights this rampant culture of mental abuse and hospital-sanctioned rape. She’s having trouble finding a lawyer to take her case – even with the damning footage. Because the baby is okay. And apparently slicing a woman’s vagina twelve times like she’s a swath of fabric on the counter at JoAnn’s isn’t a mutilating enough injury. What does this say about the established value of women in the judicial system? Did we ever actually come off the shelf as baby-making containers?
Women have held their place as an inhuman conceptual idea – one that is clothed in the dirty rags of one’s imagination so as to maintain a believable discourse. Society, at large, feels the need to leave it that way because as soon as we begin to actually listen to women’s stories and experiences it becomes complicated. We can no longer maintain our pretend image of what kinds of women make certain choices. We have to begin to acknowledge that choices are personal, that women are best positioned to know what is best for themselves and their families, and that women, alone, should be held with the responsibility and right of making their own healthcare decisions.
In looking back, will we see a history that illuminates the boldness of folks with a uterus – one defined by insistent non-compromise? Or will our struggle be laced with concessions, excused by ourselves and society, named baby-steps and progress and forward thinking?
We can’t eliminate gender-based violence, while we ignore the way we usher so many women into parenthood on the heels of violence, itself.
Yesterday was an empowering day for many folks as the 1 in 3 Campaign hosted an eight-hour speak out, during which more than one hundred women shared their abortion stories, and countless more spoke out online about their own.