Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Freedom Without Which There Is None

Molly Ivins wrote that the history of the United States is the effort to extend the promise of the Declaration of Independence - that we are all created equal - to everyone the rich, white, privileged Founders left out. Black people and brown people and female people and LGBT people and non-christian people.

It's a fight that's never really done.  Because the rich, white, privileged men in every generation are constantly finding new ways to not just prevent freedom from being extended to those who are left out, but to take freedom away from those who just recently won it.

Thus, once female people got the right to vote and the right to work (though not for equal pay) and the right to support themselves financially, the privileged ones took away the very right to a physical body.

282 forced-birth laws since 2010; 51 just in the last six months.


Well since we're celebrating "liberty" this week-end and all, here's a little reprise of something I've posted before by my friend Debra Cooper about why this matters:

For women ALL Roads to freedom and equality - economic equality and most particularly the ability to avoid poverty START with control of their bodies. If they can't control how they get pregnant and when they will have a child then poverty is the result.

There is theory about something called the Prime Mover - the first action or the first cause. Well for women it IS reproductive rights. It precedes everything. It really is simple. Without the ability to control your own body then you are a slave to everything else.

Frankly sexism, the need to control women's lives by controlling their bodies and the things that arise from it, are endemic to any social structure. It is ever enduring and even when it seems to be quashed it returns in another form. That is the story in the modern era of women's rights. One step forward after a long struggle - suffrage and then a step back. (And no way do I say that women are not complicit in their own subjugation. We are.)

In the epilogue to The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin, he makes a point of saying that the loss of power and control is what the elite and the reactionary fear the most. More than a specific loss itself, they fear the rising volcano of submerged anger and power. And for them it's most acutely felt as a compulsion for control in the "intimate" arena. That is the most vexing and disturbing of all.

It is why they want to control women. And controlling their reproductive lives is the surefire way to control them.

It is why abortion rights are absolutely central to every other kind of freedom.
 Abortion. On. Demand. No questions, no waiting, no charge.  No abortion, no freedom.

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