One thing that I’ve been adamant about is that any form of coercion on women’s reproduction means that we are, in effect, slaves. Coercion around reproduction means that we do not have control of our own bodies — the essential definition of slavery. If I cannot make my own choices about reproduction, then I am the property of the person who IS making these choices. As a consequence, there can be no restrictions on abortion. It also means that common practices of depriving poor women, disabled women, and women of color of their fertility (through enforced sterilization, clandestine Norplant implantations, etc) must cease completely.
People say I go too far with that characterization. Do I? Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the current attacks on Planned Parenthood. The pro-life crowd is attacking reproductive choice from both ends — rendering the ability of many women to even access abortion providers moot means that it matters not whether abortion is legal, if she can’t find a clinic within reach. Rendering the ability of many women to access contraceptive and basic reproductive care means that it matters not whether contraception is legal, if she can’t find a suitable clinic within reach.
To attack Planned Parenthood, they thoroughly misrepresent what it does in order to gin up support for crushing it:
In reproductive health communities, Planned Parenthood is synonymous for providing pap smears, sexually transmitted infection tests and routine check ups, not abortions. But coordinated lobbying campaigns by anti-choice activists seeking to delegitimize the health organization worked closely with allied legislators to make it their enemy No. 1, too. Indeed, despite Planned Parenthood’s wide range of health services, the anti-choice Perry has also long targeted the organization.
Let’s also take a look at Texas Budget Targets Planned Parenthood, Contraception and Women’s Health. The appalling thing about this attack on basic health care is as follows:
The nonpartisan Texas Legislative Budget Board issued a harrowing report on the cuts. In it, analysts concluded that the decimation of the family planning budget would result in 300,000 Texas women losing basic health care coverage, including tests for non-reproductive conditions. Likewise, the cuts are estimated to result in 20,000 more unplanned pregnancies.
So not only can you not access abortion when you need it, the likelihood of needing it goes up dramatically. And, being forced to carry the pregnancy to term, you are also denied the basic health care you need for this (forced) pregnancy. Lovely.
And, as I said, slavery.
What’s happening in Texas is only the latest in a long string of attacks targeting Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive health care that has dramatically escalated since last year’s elections. The message is quite clear. One thing you can do to help right now is to donate to Planned Parenthood here.
“Women” in this context should be understood to include any person capable of carrying a fetus. This would include postpubescent children, transmen, and other people who might not self-identify as women but are nonetheless directly affected by this legislation.