Last week I really did have Georgia on my mind. And Alabama. And Ohio. Kentucky and Mississippi. These are the US states lining up to pass ‘heartbeat bills’, which prohibit abortion once a foetal heartbeat can be detected – as early as six weeks into pregnancy. If a woman proceeds, even in another state, it’s a murder charge, which is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio have already passed these bills. Kentucky and Mississippi are next in line. As are Louisiana and Missouri. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks, especially young women who are not yet familiar with their body’s cycles.
Most young women start their unwanted pregnancies in denial about actually being pregnant at all. For many, it’s not until around 8–10 weeks that we become aware of the changes in our body. I’ve had three abortions – all around 11 weeks. I was just 20 for my first, 24 for my second, and 25 for my third. I have no shame around my choices, because they were mine to make. I got to ‘play God’ in my own life.
Is this why the state hates our choosing so much? Because we as women have the ultimate power? Does it scare men that no matter how much they oppress us, rape us, kill us, that we still have this primal power? We can make life with their semen and then it’s our choice to choose or reject? Is this why so many men keep turning up in our wombs and deciding what should happen there?
This is the ultimate Christian conspiracy: the corporatising of our wombs – like they’re a chain of government-owned drive-through burger bars. There has been a national race in the US to pass new legislation limiting women’s right to abortion. All this began when Trump chose Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. This was the fifth vote many believed would uphold new limits on abortion. In fact since then, eight states have passed bills in the US to limit the procedure this year alone. Being pregnant via rape or incest is no exception. While the pregnancy incurring ‘harm to mother’s life’ is noted as the only valid legal reason to carry out a termination, many believe that medical practitioners won’t perform abortions at all because of the risk to their personal liberty if challenged.
This law isn’t just limited to the states where the bill has passed; it will impact on women’s right to abortion across the US, and possibly around the world, setting the pro-choice movement back 50 years, back to the era of the coat-hanger in a lonely backroom.
The Christian fundamentalists are winding back the feminist clock, and according to them, the unborn have more rights than women. We are but ovens with legs. The women’s movement has come so far, but in a heartbeat, a foetal heartbeat, we’ve lost. Men have decided that women have no agency over their choices. Our bodies have been legislated. They no longer belong to us. The state will decide.
In America right now it’s men’s ownership over guns… and wombs. The right to bear arms and bear babies.
Australia looks to America for moral guidance. They’re our cultural compass. We emulate their values like some sick co-dependent puppy. America is our cult leader; we suck from the teat of populist thinking. We drink the Kool-Aid. It won’t be long before our alt-right and ultra-conservative parties start trying the same here.
Whether you agree with abortion or not, making a woman’s rights less than a 6-week heartbeat tells us exactly where we stand: back in the margins. On our knees in the dark quiet kitchens of HIS house. In a world where we earn 63 per cent of what men earn, where we have less property, where we are under-represented in government (hence these bills) why have we still got to fight so hard for ownership of the only thing we have: our bodies?
Why are women’s bodies a country still colonised by men’s belief? By Christian soldiers who take no responsibility for the role of their cocks? Those flags of ownership placed into our wombs, making our vaginas their golfing hole.
Feel the shoes in your womb? Start ironing your bonnets, girls, because Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t a dystopian fantasy, it was a documentary. This is not about abortion. This is about who owns us. It’s never been more important to be a feminist. A loud angry militant feminist claiming sovereignty on a womb of her own.