Time to flip over the table.
That’s what someone I know said when they heard about the latest anti-abortion legislation passed in the United States.
In Louisiana lawmakers have decided that a woman who has an abortion will have to pay for the foetus’ funeral.
Flip it over. Make some noise. Get really. Fucking. Mad.
Because this is just another attempt to make women feel like absolute crap for living.
The Louisiana laws are trying to circumvent the rights of US women recognised in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision of that country’s Supreme Court.
Roe v Wade protected a woman’s right to determine what happens to her body. These condescending increments of overreach rolled out in conservative states by lawmakers with penises and a true sense of their own superiority are designed to undermine that.
Excessive clinic regulation. Mandatory counselling. Compulsory ultrasounds. And now, making you give that aborted foetus a funeral.
There is no other way to put this. The state of Louisiana wants any woman who has an abortion to know it thinks she is a baby killer. It’s emotional blackmail. It’s completely unfair and entirely ridiculous.
And it matters not just to women in Louisiana or the United States. It matters to all of us, everywhere.
The United States, rightly or wrongly, is considered a place of great personal freedom built on a liberal and democratic foundation. It is a great influencer of its neighbours and allies. It wields power internationally on an unprecedented scale.
How the United States treats women affects how women are treated all over the world.
The abortion debate there has been heading in this direction for some time. And with what many commentators believe is a tied Supreme Court bench, states like Louisiana are trying to overturn Roe v Wade. They hope appeals of their ridiculous laws will end up in the highest court in the land and the decision will end up going their way.
They actually want to make abortion illegal again.
In 2016. In the United States of America.
Meanwhile, back home in Australia? Well actually, it is illegal in a number of states. We accept it as a society, and we have common law work arounds enabling the procedure, but push comes to shove: Abortion is still technically illegal in states including New South Wales and Queensland and you can potentially end up facing criminal consequences.
So when you look to the United States and see lawmakers actually writing bills that force women to have an ultrasound wand shoved up her vagina to make her listen to the foetus’ heartbeat before she can get an abortion, don’t shake your head and say “that’s fucked but it doesn’t affect me”.
Because it does.
Every law, everywhere, that seeks to limit your right to choose affects you. Every law everywhere that assumes the humanity of the foetus outweighs that of the woman is putting you down, lessening your control over your body and your life.
Every law that hasn’t been repealed because we never enforce it sits on the books waiting to be culturally relevant again.
Every woman who has to drive 500 kilometres for an abortion she can’t afford but needs to have is a woman like you and me.
Every woman who has to listen to a counsellor talk her through her “options” before she can get the medical procedure she wants is a woman like you and me.
Every woman who will be forced to bury a foetus she didn’t want is woman like you and me.
Every woman who has an abortion has a different reason for having one. But they are all making the same choice. To continue to live their life on their terms.
No one else gets to decide what those terms are. Whether you’re a rape victim, a mother of three, a teenager, a career woman, a wife who never wanted a baby. It doesn’t matter.
It’s your body. It’s your choice.
So flip over the table. It’s time.