opinion

MIA FREEDMAN: America, 2022: Where guns have more rights than women.

Listen to this story read by Mia Freedman, here. 


Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if I’d not been able to have an abortion. I’ve had two actually, a few years apart in my early twenties.

Both times I fell accidentally pregnant to men who were terrible.

One was an emotionally abusive drug addict. The other was a compulsive liar who cheated on me.

Sometimes I think about what life would have been like for my friend who had an abortion after she was raped. 

Imagine if she’d been forced to carry and give birth to that baby and be forever connected to her rapist whose child she would always be the mother of, even if she had given it up for adoption.

Sometimes I think about another friend whose much wanted pregnancy ended in terrible congenital defects that meant her baby would never be born alive. 

She had an abortion because she didn’t think she could live through carrying that baby to term.

Imagine if some old men in black robes in a court somewhere had decided what was best for us. For our lives, our health, our mental health, our careers, our financial security, our ability to have any control over our bodies or our destinies.

American women don’t have to imagine that today because it’s their reality.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn Roe vs Wade, a ruling from decades ago that said a woman has a constitutional right to have an abortion.

No more.

Already, eight states have legislated to ban abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest. An additional 13 states are likely to adopt the ban, while a further nine states are uncertain.

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Welcome to America, where guns have more rights than women.

This is the legacy of Donald Trump. Make no mistake.

The reality show president has fundamentally transformed the lives of millions of women for generations.

How many abortions do you think Donald Trump has been involved in? How many of the women he’s had affairs with have had to have abortions that he has probably paid for?

This is not a man who has any moral belief in anything but his own power. And he worked out early on that promising to change the makeup of the Supreme Court and stacking it with anti-choice judges who would vote to overturn Roe and ban abortion was popular with a small but powerful and vocal minority.

Minority is an important word here. More than 80% of Americans believe that women should have the right to access abortion.

And until just a few decades ago, abortion was not a political issue. It was not divided between Republicans and Democrats and it was not something that religious groups weighed in on.

Abortion was rightly seen as a private health decision between a woman and a doctor.

But then, some men realised that it was an issue that could be weaponised for political gain.

Donald Trump realised it could win him votes. And it did.

Women’s bodies were used as chattel to make men more powerful.

It’s surreal.

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Young women in America today have fewer rights than their mothers or their grandmothers.

The level of catastrophe cannot be understated. Pregnancy is 30x more dangerous for a woman than abortion. There are women who are pregnant right now who will die because of this ruling.

Mike Pence, former Vice President and a man so religious he refuses to be alone in the same room as a woman unless she is his wife, is jubilant.

So, just to be clear, in America, whose life is precious?

Not the lives of women who will now be forced to have babies they don’t want and cannot care for.
Also, not the children who are routinely murdered by gunmen at school and at kindergarten because while a woman cannot control what goes on inside her own body, everyone has the right to buy a machine gun.

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Is this the home of the brave and the land of the free? 

Not for any woman who wants any agency in determining how her life will go.

Without reproductive rights, women have no rights. We have no chance at equality because it doesn’t matter what job you want to do or what choices you want to me…..if you are burdened with the physical and emotional labour of bearing children, your life is not your own.

Over the past few weeks, coincidentally, I have interviewed a number of people who have been raised within extreme religious communities.

No matter the specific religion, their stories have a commonality.

Women have no rights. Their purpose - as apparently dictated by god - is to have children. This is not compatible with autonomy or equality. Because men can have dozens and dozens of children, even simultaneously (as we saw on the Netflix doco, Stay Sweet: Pray and Obey) without having any physical, mental, emotional or logistical impact on their lives.

They don’t have to miss a day of work or sacrifice a single thing.

But women who do not have control of their bodies are essentially slaves to reproduction.

This is America in 2022.

To our sisters who are shocked and grieving and wild with panic, we stand with you. Our hearts are broken, our minds are blown. This is a dark, dark day for women everywhere.

Because until all women are free, none of us are free.

Feature Image: Getty.