Robert Crohan/Staff Writer
Former US Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, once referred to Trump rallies as the “spasms of a dying party.”
But even if the GOP is not on its way out the door, its leaders seem aware of, and caught in, this conundrum. Texas, the Republicans’ largest state, has charged towards right-wing authoritarian politics like a bucking bronco.
There are virtually no restrictions on guns. Black history is being erased from the school curriculum. Voting is limited to only the most privileged. And now, abortions after the detection of a heartbeat, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy, are aggressively outlawed. Average citizens are essentially “bounty hunters” in reporting and legally charging those who assist in carrying out abortions. Talk about the wild west.
This reveals several gruesome takeaways: the anti-choice movement is louder and prouder than ever, despite public opinion siding against it. Anyone who supports reproductive justice must speak up and take action, and fight back before it’s too late. Finally, Republicans across red America are in a frantic contest to see who can preserve control and white supremacy before the inevitable demographic shifts push it into the dustbin of history.
Without a mobilized effort to say no to this madness, Florida will implement a similar law. It is all but guaranteed.
As I have learned, the anti-choice movement has its roots in the desire to control white women for the purposes of subservience, traditional gender roles, and reproduction. At the same time, because women of color are at a pronounced risk of poor health outcomes from unwanted pregnancies such as child mortality, especially in the South, the movement has sought to limit the expansion of resources for mothers of color to birth and raise healthy, strong children.
And the same politicians who preach to evangelicals about respecting God’s children and preserving freedom, put simply, are full of it.
Because if they actually cared about these things, they would respect a person’s (not just a woman, because people with ovaries who don’t identify as women are affected as well) right to make the right decisions for themselves and their loved ones. They would support expanding birth control, proper sex education, and health care, including by fighting the Hyde Amendment that prohibits Medicare from paying for abortions.
They would actually try to solve America’s housing crisis instead of dismissing those who beg for help as moochers. They would raise wages. They would not pass laws that criminalize miscarriage, putting thousands under surveillance, scrutiny, and danger. They would show more mercy for low-wage workers seeking to unionize. They would understand that American freedom requires the freedom for one to control their own body without governmental intrusion.
Indeed, anti-choice policies have subjected people to marginalization, sexual assault, domestic assault, illness, and death. And the facts that 90% of Americans live in a county with no abortion providers, and that around 59% of those seeking abortion already have children further reject the notion that abortions are a result of rampant, irresponsible sexuality. Even so, why is it anyone else’s business what a person does with their body? Abortion should not be a dirty word, and many religious politicians agree.
These Republicans have reason to fear. In 2012, a Missouri Republican handily lost a Senate race in a very red state after defending rape. Texas is becoming ever more Democratic and Hispanics are just shy from making up a majority of its citizens. Georgia, which has pushed for anti-choice legislation, is now Democratic, and Texas is on a similar trajectory. 61% of Americans support abortion legality in most or all cases.
So, how do we fight back? We energize, educate, and stay persistent. Call out politicians and peers who contribute to an anti-choice and misogynistic climate. Educate yourself and your peers. Post educational content on social media. Call your representatives. If you cannot get pregnant, do not try to lead, or be a savior, but rather uplift and empower the people with uteruses who are front-and-center in this fight.
All of this is especially crucial for us Floridians, as our communities are especially vulnerable to the impacts of anti-choice legislation. Reproductive justice is an “everything issue.” It ties into affordable housing, incarceration, police brutality, racism, infrastructure, and everything else you can imagine.
Don’t be afraid to engage on this issue. Because the anti-choicers are winning, and if their ultimate goal of outlawing all abortion in America becomes a reality, millions will pay the hefty price.
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