A friend’s blog recently had the all too true-if slightly inappropriate-“new logo” for the state of South Dakota following a law passed there last month that outlaws abortions in the state in every case (including rape and incest), except for those in which the mother’s life is in danger. The “new logo” read the state’s name in hot pink script, with the “D” formed by a wire hanger.
Inappropriate? Yes. Unrealistic? Of course not. Like it or not, we are now in an era in which the Supreme Court, thanks to the additions of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, has without a doubt a conservative edge. Anyone on Fox News can talk smarmily all day long about how both Roberts and Alito will do their best to hold up the Constitution and all the stuff they promised to do, but guess what? They will do what George W. Bush wants them to do.
This is not news to anyone with even half a brain cell. Roberts, as chief justice, and Alito both have the opportunity to do what conservatives are practically salivating over: overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision and effectively reduce all women (including those in California) into desperate individuals who will, indeed, have to resort to a wire hanger and a visit with a “doctor” in a Motel 6 bedroom. Some people try to say that this kind of situation could never take place, but guess what? Women aren’t going to stop having abortions if they are made illegal.
However, I’m not nearly as angry about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned (I never expected anything less from Bush) as I am about the lack of female protest against the South Dakota decision. I’ve seen angry words in friends’ blogs and alternative weekly newspapers, but have not heard a word from mainstream American women, which disappoints me deeply. If women do not stand up for their rights, reproductive or otherwise, what the hell makes us think that anything of value will be done regarding our bodies, our minds or our pay scale in Washington, D.C.?
This could be chalked up to some crazy feminist talking-Bill O’Reilly would offer up character assessments of me that would not be at all complimentary, I’m sure. It may not seem so drastic, but the decision in South Dakota shows, once again, how little control women are allowed over their own bodies. And the lack of protest, the lack of a fight against this decision on a national level, lets the world-and our leaders-know just how little women value their freedom on every level, from having the choice to terminate a pregnancy to actually making the same amount as a man, rather than the tired old 81 cents to every dollar. This is a turning point, though few women care to acknowledge this publicly; granted, the decision has already been made in South Dakota, but if women throughout the nation are willing to just take this kind of treatment, we might as well overturn Roe v. Wade now.
What every woman has to recognize at this turning point is that fighting unconstitutional decisions during such a turbulent time in the Supreme Court is undeniably important. This fight is just as much about abortion as it is any other right we have. This year, the freedom we could lose is Roe v. Wade; next year, we could lose even more valuable rights.
Lauren Robeson can be reachd at email@example.com