The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022. Historians will look back on this and say that this was a dark day, indeed. At the time of this writing, I’ve had time to calm down and get a good night’s sleep, and…

Nope. Who am I kidding? I’m still outraged.

But I’m trying to remain levelheaded so that I can think clearly and act appropriately and effectively. I’m not like the Proud Boys. I’m not going to throw a violent tantrum when I don’t get my way. I’m not going to go off half-cocked (or fully cocked, for that matter) and wipe all the chess pieces off the board before repairing to my bedroom and slamming the door.

I think there are ways to make this better. Some I can’t talk about just yet. Others will require legislative intervention. But the primary thing to keep in mind is that even though women’s rights have been rolled back to the 1960’s, we have something that they didn’t have. We can network and communicate in real time, and now, more than ever, we must do so.

I can almost feel it in the air. Women are using their brains, not their brawn, to battle against this injustice. They are working together, and won’t simply sit back and wait until mid-terms to vote these fools out of office. They’ll be doing that, too, rest assured, but they’re also coming up with creative ways to help their fellow woman in the meantime. (And these are definitely mean times.)

If you can financially support a cause, please do so. If you can volunteer your time, there will be a lot of needs that will have to be met now in a lot of creative ways. Think about what women are going to need and consider ways you can help them. If you can pass along facts and information, do that, too.

And of course, yes, vote. Vote in every election, no matter how small. Vote for your school board. Vote for your dog catcher, if that’s even a thing. Poisonous mushrooms start off small but they don’t always stay that way. We’ve learned that the hard way.

But for those of you who are on the fence, or are morally opposed to abortion, I want to explain what just happened, to you, to me, to everyone in this country. Many of us are now no more than involuntary servants. We have about as much agency as a bitch in a puppy mill. We are being used to produce offspring.

Imagine this. Pick an organ, any organ. The colon? Good choice. It’s low down in the trunk area of your body. That’ll do nicely.

Now imagine that your government suddenly decided that you can’t take a shit without asking for permission. But that would put your health at risk, you might say. They don’t care. But you need to, for whatever reason. (Maybe you had a bad fish taco or something.) Actually, the reason is nobody’s business but yours. Perhaps you just want to gain some relief. Maybe you’ve accidentally ingested a toxic chemical and the only way to pass the poison out of your body is to… well, you get the idea.

How would you feel if that happened? Would you feel like an adult, having to ask permission to use a part of your own body in the way you want to? Would you feel free? (I have never felt less free in my life.) Would you feel like your country gave a shit about you?

Have you also considered that this change won’t impact rich people at all? If a rich person wants an abortion, she can simply fly to Ireland or wherever and have one, and then do some sightseeing. (And while we’re on the subject, how pathetic is it that Ireland, a Catholic freakin’ country, has legalized abortion and we haven’t?)

And rich people are a lot less likely to need this type of service anyway, because they have stellar health insurance, and easy access to the most effective forms of birth control, and are much less likely to find themselves in an environment where they’ll be raped, and will be so well set that they wouldn’t have to look at having a child as a pathway to financial ruin and potential homelessness. They can afford childcare, and they don’t have to work 80 hours a week, so they can actually enjoy their children, when they don’t send them off to boarding school or lock them up in another wing of the house to be cared for by nannies and maids.          

So, yes, the diabolical reversal of Roe v. Wade will disproportionately impact the poor among us, and they, by extension, will be mostly people of color. So now that we’ve learned who the brood mares are going to be, let’s find out what they’ll be producing, exactly.

Why do we want more children in a world that is already so overpopulated? More children will mean more development, overcrowding, more competition for food and resources, more disease, more pollution, more services that will have to be paid for by all of us, and on and on.

But children also become consumers, and those are important to have if your system is capitalism, especially if the rich people making the political systems often own many of the companies that will profit from these consumers. Children, especially the ones that we’re talking about now, who come from the most underprivileged homes, are the ones who grow up to be cannon fodder in our very profitable wars. We can afford to lose a few. There are plenty.

Children born into poverty are less likely to be educated, so they’ll wind up doing those horrible jobs that nobody else wants. Many of them will also blindly follow leaders who quite obviously do not have their best interests at heart. They’re needed for their mindless votes.

And it’s important to have plenty of cogs for this corporate wheel of ours! The bigger the pool of potential employees you have, the more competition there are for your jobs, the less you have to provide incentives, such as a decent living wage or maternity leave (which is ironic), or decent health insurance. So, in essence, you get the poor people to produce the population for you, and then there will be enough of them to perpetuate the cycle, generation after generation.

Have you ever thought about the home lives of people in prison? I wonder what percentage of them were never wanted or loved by their families. How many of them were just another mouth to feed? How much of the abuse that they suffered growing up stemmed from resentment? How many prisoners have fetal alcohol syndrome, or were born addicted to their mother’s drug of choice? Thanks a lot for giving that poor unborn fetus that life.

One friend couldn’t really understand why I’m so worked up about this. Technically, I don’t have any skin in the game, so to speak. I’m well past childbearing age, and even if I weren’t, I no longer have a uterus. (And believe me, many’s the time I’ve rejoiced in its absence, but never so much as I do now.) I don’t possess the organ they want to control, so one would think I’d shut up and fly under the radar.

But I can’t. First of all, I wasn’t raised to believe that as long as I get mine, to hell with you and yours. I could never be that selfish, in spite of the fact that that seems to be the societal trend. I feel the need to fight for these rights that I was lucky enough to benefit from.

I’ve had two abortions. One was because I was way too young and already poor, and a child at that point in time would have chained me to poverty for the rest of my life. There would have been no college, no job satisfaction, no safety, no security, and I’d have been forced into very dangerous, non-supportive living situations. I’m not particularly mentally healthy now, so I can’t imagine what those added stressors would have done to me. The second abortion was the result of rape, and I can’t picture having to go through life looking at my child and seeing the face of my rapist.

Speaking from experience, I know that there are very legitimate reasons for seeking abortions, and people will continue to seek them whether they’re legal or not. You’re not preventing abortions. You’re taking away safe and sanitary environments in which to have an abortion, and you’re forcing them into back alleys with practitioners who know nothing about the medical profession at all.

If you don’t want an abortion, you shouldn’t have one. You have that choice. Why take away the choices of everyone else?

This issue is not about life. If the people that have forced this current nightmare upon us cared about life, they would be moving heaven and earth to stop little kids from getting hit with bullets that spin so rapidly that what’s left of their innocent little bodies can’t even be identified by their grieving parents. If they cared about life, they wouldn’t be sending boys off to wars that we should never have been involved in in the first place. They pretend to revere our veterans, but when one of their number dies in combat, we’re not even allowed to see their flag-draped coffins anymore. If they cared about life, they would be so focused on solving the homeless problem that they wouldn’t have time to do anything else. If they cared about life, they wouldn’t be forcing women to be involuntary vessels for unwanted children. If they cared about life, they’d have gone out of their way to wear masks during this pandemic, rather than not caring who died as a result of their own selfishness. If they cared about life so much, they wouldn’t be so eager to turn away people that seek asylum. If they cared about life so much, they’d focus on helping the lives that are already here.

This issue is not about life. It’s not about the poor unborn babies. It’s not about morality. It’s about control. Pure and simple. It’s about power.

The thing conservatives don’t seem to get is that the rest of us are perfectly willing to let you not have an abortion if you think it’s immoral. But when you start legislating morality, based on your idea of what morality is, not mine, then you’ve thrust me into the kind of law that you call sharia law, because it makes you sound enlightened. We’re now living the very thing you’re so terrified will take over this country.

And conservative women confuse me more than any group on earth. Do you realize what you’ve done? You probably think that none of this matters, because you’d never have an abortion in the first place. But you’ve given away one of your vital organs. It’s still in your body, but it’s not under your control. In some states, women can now be locked up if they cross a state line to seek an abortion in a more sympathetic state. Locked up. They can’t leave their own state. They are supposed to stay put, so that their uteruses (uteri) can be used in whatever way the politicians choose. They are not allowed to decide their path in life or solve their own problems. They are criminalized if they even attempt to do so. Stop disparaging Saudi Arabia if you’re hell bent on transforming this country into that one.

If none of this scares you, then you’re not paying attention.

And here’s the thing I find most interesting. The thirteenth amendment outlaws involuntary servitude. I think forcing a woman to carry a child for 9 months is the epitome of involuntary servitude. Your very bodily functions are impacted. Your mental health definitely is. You’re making an adult beg like a child. And then, if that woman has to raise that child, most likely with no help from a man, then her servitude goes on for decades. You are turning her life upside down, because you don’t value her life at all.

How is this constitutional? How is this not sex trafficking? We’re now chattel. We’re servants. We could be farmed out like dairy cows.

Last night I dreamed that a crowd of white men in sharkskin suits were holding me down and ripping out my uterus.

Anyway… Stay strong. We’ll need all the strength we can get.

10 thoughts on “Ladies, Welcome to Involuntary Servitude

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    I hear you. The hypocrisy, the utter nonsense of refusing to provide help for the selfsame kids these people think absolutely must be born, boggles the mind. Why hasn’t the sun already flung this planet out into the void?
    Stooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooopid.
    Thanks for telling it like it is.

    1. It was either write about it or implode under the sheer weight of my righteous indignation.

  2. Lyn says:

    As I’ve been predicting, we are going the way of the handmaids tale. This is just the beginning. They’re not stopping at abortion. (Justice Thomas made that clear by calling for ‘other’ rulings to be revisited.) They misuse law and religion to justify their power grabs and manipulate insecure, brainwashed women into serving their nefarious agendas. The effort and money poured into supposedly protecting unborn children while doing nothing to ensure the health and safety of those children, once born, is obscene. They are slowly shaping our young to accept loss of control and autonomy with book bans and dress codes like this… https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/24/us/forney-texas-school-district-dress-code-ban/index.html …claiming it will enhance school safety. As if wearing professional school uniforms will stop school shootings. Margret Atwood’s tale of a coup that created a fundamentalist Christian theocracy is no longer fiction. It’s a Republican agenda that many unsuspecting, gaslit members don’t realize they’re supporting. Truth is, we’ve never completely stopped being servants. We just got comfortable with the illusion of total freedom and let our guards down because it’s been a long hard war and we’re all exhausted. So, rest up everyone. We’ve only lost a battle, not the war. Never surrender. We won’t go back.

    1. Ugh, that link was upsetting. I was a little surprised, though, that those Texans were banning skirts. You’d think that they’d force all girls into skirts. And no shorts? Texas is hot as blue blazes. And this is once again a barrier for the poor, just as it is in any third world country. Often those kids can’t go to school because the family can’t afford the uniforms. And if that is training them for the working world, then it’s obvious they are only expecting their students to work at McDonalds or some other crap job that requires uniforms. Grrrrr. My niece and nephew went to a school that prevented them from dying their hair cool colors. High School is where you practice your self expression to figure out who you are. I was so irritated.

      1. Lyn says:

        By the time I’d reached high school I had a strong sense of who I am and struggled to express that under an oppressive educational system. I moved across the country to a liberal, progressive state with better educational opportunities for myself and my children. Even with those advantages, as a mother of 4, with no support, I couldn’t complete my degree, but my childless sons utilized the advantages I couldn’t and got theirs. They never had strict school dress codes and learned to think critically. They pursued professional art and music careers that were supported and encouraged at home and school. Once I’d seen them safely to adulthood, my body gave out and the freedom to pursue my own education and career became impossible. This was directly due to my lack of reproductive rights. To be clear, 2 conceptions occurred while on newly legalized birth control pills, that were prone to failure, and my husband refused a tubal ligation I requested because the pill failed twice. My 3rd pregnancy wound up twins because it was later in life. Abortion wasn’t an option; their father was a strict catholic. So, male control over my reproductive rights kept me from my dreams and the stresses of raising 4 children, without support, robbed me of my health. Being an abandoned, involuntary, breeding servant takes it’s toll. Just because you’re not sexually trafficked doesn’t mean you’re not being sexually abused and exploited. Also, my mother wanted to abort me but my father wouldn’t let her so she made sure I knew she resented me everyday. As a preteen, she tried to give me away twice. Forced pregnancy is a form of sexual and emotional abuse that doesn’t just damage the mother.

  3. Cy says:

    Important things to consider at this time. This for posting this!

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