Friday, April 28, 2017

Reproductive Rights are NEGOTIABLE?

"To recap: On Wednesday, Sanders gave an interview in which he said that he “didn’t know” if Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who the day before had earned more than 48 percent of the primary vote in a longtime Republican House district in Georgia, was a progressive......Sanders’s definition of what constitutes a progressive became even murkier when he suggested that the election of Heath Mello, who’s running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska — and who as a state senator sponsored a 20-week abortion ban and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions — would represent a “shot across the board, that in a state like Nebraska a progressive Democrat can win.” Not to be outdone, Perez amplified the message that reproductive rights are negotiable for the Democratic Party. " (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/04/bernie-sanders-and-tom-perez-must-not-abandon-womens-rights.html)

When did the Democratic party decide that women's rights are negotiable?  Women, according the the 2010 census, make up over 50% of the United States population and yes there my party goes, throwing us under the bus.  And how exactly is that "progressive", a term that Bernie Sanders loves to embrace with all his might. When I look up the word progressive in the dictionary I see "favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters." (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/progressive?s=t) So how can anyone call themselves progressive and not stand firm on a woman's right to autonomy over her own body.  Economic issues are non negotiable but basic human rights to self determination are up for grabs.

A woman's right to choose when and where she wants to start a family, or not at all, are core to her social and economic standing.  Why do men find it so easy to negotiate about women.  Why is it OK to throw 50.8% of the population under the bus rather than take a stand for what is right.  If we were talking about a man's right to autonomy, things would be different.  And, in fact they are.  A man has complete autonomy over his body, to the detriment of women.  Men easily get a "pass" for rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse, sexual assault just because they are men.  We excuse this behavior and men are allowed complete control.  And yet women are still struggling for this same basic right.

I think it is crucial to remember this, when we think about the equal rights amendment.  So many people think it has already been ratified, but it has not.  And yes, North Carolina, the state I love and call home, is one of those states that refuses to ratify the ERA.  In doing so, that would mean that women are indeed equal to men, and would have the same rights and protections under the law.  We can't have that happen, can we.

As we erode the right of women to have autonomy with regard to abortion decisions, and contraceptive decisions, we tear at the very heart of what it means to be equal. One day we will wake up and have no rights at all.  We are moving backward. And not speaking the word abortion does not make it go away.

So I would challenge everyone to think about what the word progressive really means before you jump on that bandwagon.  The word is slowly losing any meaning it once had, and will end up in the pile of overused words, like "natural" or "organic".  So watered down that anyone and everyone will be calling themselves progressive.  If you are only moving forward on a few issues, and moving backward on others, aren't you really standing still.  Until everyone has the right to affordable, COMPREHENSIVE, accessible, safe medical care, including everything the medical community has to offer, we are not equal.  Until women have complete autonomy over their own bodies, we are not equal.

Reproductive autonomy is crucial, and not negotiable.  Winning a state while throwing women away is not the way to go.

No comments: