I've never had an abortion. Never had to make that heart-wrenching decision. Never had to sneak down a back alley into a dirty, makeshift operating room. Never had to desperately try coathangers and elixirs to self-abort. Never had to fear how others would judge me for my choice. Never had to lie to protect that secret. Never had to keep that secret down, deep inside.
When Roe v Wade was decided, on Jan. 22, 1973, I was celebrating my birthday and I was nine years old. I was having a slumber party with all my friends. We were only dancing little girls, naively unaware of how that Supreme Court decision affected each one of us. And now, it affects our daughters and granddaughters.
Statistically, one out of three American women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Other statistics show that one of three women will be the victims of sexual assault, or domestic violence.
I've never had an abortion, but I have been a victim of both sexual assault/rape and domestic violence. I know, too, that those girls who danced around me at my birthday party would later face their own personal, private victimizations and choices, or lack thereof.
Interestingly, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade had originally told doctors she'd been raped, because her understanding of Texas law was that rape was an exception for abortion. But there was no police report, so she was denied the abortion. It was a desperate lie no doubt repeated by other desperate women needing abortions. But it was also a truth for some women who had been raped. And what of those who got pregnant as a result of a rape they were too scared to report?
Why would we be scared to report a beating by our husband, or a rape by a friend or stranger, or to make up a lie to get a medical procedure? Because we women are considered the 'lesser sex' by some men. We are judged and scrutinized by a male measure that treats us like objects or chattel. We know we aren't treated equally.
Case in point from Wikipedia:
In his opening argument in defence of the abortion restrictions, Jay Floyd made a joke that was later described as the "Worst Joke in Legal History". Appearing against two female lawyers, Floyd began, "Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court. It’s an old joke, but when a man argues against two beautiful ladies like this, they are going to have the last word." His remark was met with cold silence; one observer thought that Chief Justice Burger "was going to come right off the bench at him. He glared him down".Disgusting, isn't it? But wasn't it just a few days ago that a lawmaker was chastised for his language regarding women? Ah, yes, Gov. Haley Barbour called Mayor Dawn Zimmer a 'lady mayor.' Forty-one years later, and it still continues.
This summer, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis delivered an epic true filibuster on the floor of the Texas Congress on behalf of Texas women and their right to choose. It was no surprise, though, that the filibuster would fail, given the number of republicans in the Congress. It is also no surprise that she is experiencing the same male measure of judgment as she steps out into the political spotlight.
It was that filibuster, though that brought countless women (and men) protesting in great orange waves in the Capitol and on the streets of Austin. Many others gave powerful testimonies before the subcommittee. You know, of course, that Texas is just one of over half of US states who have invasive and restrictive abortion laws on their books. You know that in the past few years those laws have become even more restrictive due to an influx of far right-wing politicians coming into office.
So I ask you to support Wendy Davis for Governor, to vote for Democrats who support choice and equal rights for women. Please support Planned Parenthood and similar organizations.
Consider it my birthday wish. Do it for the dancing girls.