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Byron Shire
December 6, 2023

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: War on the Wombs

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Roe v Wade Overturned, Washington. Image by Ted Eytan

The right to safe abortion is the cornerstone of the women’s movement. It’s the ground on which we stand to become lawyers and academics and policy writers and journalists and activists. It’s allowed us reproductive freedom and put us on equal footing with those without wombs; mainly cis men who, for centuries, saw our bodies as countries to rape and pillage. Our wombs were colonised – the cock was the flag that ploughed deep into our stolen earth. 

I am a feminist. Like so many others I am a girl who fought to find her voice in a world that deferred to the tones of men. I thought the tide had turned. I thought we were evolving towards a gentler world of gender equity, of rainbows and fluid pronouns; a place where the old power structures have crumbled.

I heard about the overturning of the Roe v Wade ruling on the radio Saturday morning and I burst into tears. It felt surreal. I’m a 54 year old feminist who has lived to see the world regress into the violence of state sanctioned misogyny. And it’s happening in America, in the land of some of the world’s most courageous feminist thinkers, in the country that boasts about its liberty and freedom of speech. That same country has taken away one of the most basic rights a woman has: reproductive autonomy. America’s conservatives have taken away the life choices of pregnant people, but put guns in the hands of children. 

How could a 50-year ruling be discounted? What does it tell the world about our value? About our rights? I knew it was on the cards. But it hit me like a punch in the guts. Deep in my ovaries I felt the assault; the violence of having your womb stolen. Stamped ‘property of God’. I am not American but the country of our bodies has no borders. The country is all of us. And they are coming. This is a gender-cide. This is a war on our wombs.

Gilead is here. Atwood’s dystopian future has arrived. With the overturning of Roe v Wade women and gender diverse people in America have lost their constitutional right to an abortion. Safe access to reproductive healthcare should be a human right. There will be consequences. We will die. Women of colour, disabled, financially disadvantaged and gender diverse people are the most at risk. They have lost their reproductive rights. 

The law dictates now that the contents of their wombs dictate their health and life outcomes. If they have been raped, or if the pregnancy is a result of incest, it doesn’t matter. The pregnancy will proceed. The mother is meaningless. The impact on her/their mental health and life outcomes is disregarded. While he ejaculates and leaves the scene, she/they live with the consequences. By not having access to safe abortion, her/their life is taken. We are made cows. Breeding stock. Hormonal pizza ovens to cook up the next generation of Patriarchs… Supreme Court Judges with everything, except humanity. 

Don’t think this won’t impact us here. It will. Abortion was only decriminalised in NSW in October 2019. Only two years ago our State legislators decided it could be removed from the criminal code and regulated as a health procedure. It’s still not a constitutional right in Australia. There are different rules in every state, it’s been called a postcode lottery. We know that legal abortions save lives, because making abortion illegal doesn’t stop them happening. It just means more pregnant people die. 

What has happened in America is a huge step backwards for equality. The ruling was made because a right to abortion didn’t exist constitutionally before the 19th century. They are already talking about challenging the constitutional right to contraception and to same sex marriage. What’s next? Women’s right to vote? 

The same country that puts guns in the hands of children to shoot other children has no right to storm our bodies and hold us reproductive hostage. Stigmatising and criminalising abortion is the road back to patriarchal privilege and violence.

This is a war on our wombs.

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    • No, very few issues are federal in their system. Abortions is suppose to be done state by state. Some states will ban it, some will legalise post-birth abortion as California and New York have been talking about for years. If you don’t like the laws of the state you live in, just move 10 minutes down the road to a different state with completely different laws.

        • The 2nd Amendment gives people immunity from laws against murder?
          That only seems to apply in the five cities that have the strictest gun restrictions as those are the ones where the majority of gun murders occur.

        • The second is about national defense in line with the Founders’ beliefs. There is a reason why it says “militia” and not “army.”

      • Your point would be stronger if moving between states in the US was as easy as you seem to think.

        It’s a much harder task in reality, and not a realistic options for many.

  1. Lots of women voted for Trump.

    What is truly frightening about this ruling is its demonstration of the implications of life tenures in institutions like the USA Supreme Court. Presidents/parties can use their privilege to stack the bench with their sympathisers (or those preferred by their power base) whose powers continue long after enough of the population sees through the culprits and votes them out.

    • The idea behind life tenure is to make to judges independent of the government of the day. If they could be fired, it would influence their decisions. The Judicial branch of governments in Western countries is suppose to be independent of the Executive and Legislative. Each party has an equal chance of appointing judges over time.

      All the ‘Conservative’ judges are intending to do is strike down unlawful rulings that were unconstitutional to begin with (10th amendment). This will allow lefty states to create left laws, and right states to do the same. This should reduce tensions in the US as people can just move to the state that has the laws they like instead of being dictated to by a central government. Imagine if the Northern Rivers could pass it’s own laws on just about anything without a higher authority’s permission. If people didn’t like it they could move a short distance.

      Lots of women want abortion highly limited. That’s true in this country too. The first trimester was tolerable, even more so if limited to medical reasons only. It’s not suppose to be a form of contraception. California had already introduced a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law about babies dying in the first 28 days if the Mother didn’t complain about it.

    • Nothing frightening about this ruling. 5 justices put their personal beliefs and public opinion aside and interpreted the constitution as it should have been interpreted.

        • The supreme court justices correctly ruled the killing of unborn babies for convenience is not a federal/constitutional issue but an issue for the voters in the individual states. So please explain where their legal judgment is wrong. I wont hold my breath.

          • No don’t hold your breath – our brains need the oxygen. My comment wasn’t in relation to this David. I have no legal qualifications let alone expertise in the US constitution so I don’t make definitive comments about complex and debated legal issues.

            My comment was in relation to the judges “putting aside their personal beliefs” and basing their decision on a faultless interpretation.

            If this were possible (even likely) why would their ever be split decisions? Why would politicians be so careful about the idealistic tendencies of their nominees?

            I find it equally amusing how predictable (based on their own beliefs) many commentators will be about the impeccability of a particular decision. Your very loaded reduction of the topic to the “killing of unborn babies for convenience” is rather instructive.

          • So your saying the majority justices may be correct in their decision. The dissenting justices may support the majority decision but their liberal bias and fear of public backlash may have led to their dissent. Bias works both ways. My definition of abortion may be “instructive” but brutally accurate. Call a spade a spade. Who was it that said the second amendment embodied post birth abortion?

          • Nah – I was just saying that I wasn’t making a pronouncement about the validity of the decision but the difficulty of achieving a “separation of powers” when politics plays such a huge role in the weighting of ideological leanings on the bench. And it refers to both/all sides of politics.

            I’m also questioning the capacity of we mere mortals to completely put aside our biases when interpreting.

            My objection to words like “convenience” relates to how it implies the decision is generally a frivolous one totally devoid of any sense of responsibility or of any significant consequences for the person involved.

            It tends to ignore situations like rape, incest, severe disability of the foetus and threats to the mother’s own health. It tends to state quite clearly where you stand on an issue of a conflict of rights.

            Don’t assume to know my position from what I’ve written.

            I thought it was pretty obvious that my 2nd amendment jibe referred to the oft observed contradiction in Republican thinking on the sanctity of life when it involves women’s rights and the unwillingness to do anything about the right for (mainly blokes) to arm themselves to the teeth regardless of who this allows to get hold of the potential to cause carnage.

            If you think about it carefully, “post birth abortion”, I’d suggest is an oxymoron.

  2. Oh lol, I saw the title of this article and I knew it was going to be a box of belly laughs. Mandy didn’t let me down, she’s such a great comic, but not in the way she thinks she is.

    “I’m a 54 year old feminist who has lived to see the world regress into the violence of state sanctioned misogyny.”

    “.. it hit me like a punch in the guts. Deep in my ovaries I felt the assault; the violence of having your womb stolen. Stamped ‘property of God’. I am not American but the country of our bodies has no borders. The country is all of us. And they are coming. This is a gender-cide. This is a war on our wombs.
    Gilead is here. Atwood’s dystopian future has arrived.”

    For goodness sake, the Supreme Court have taken themselves OUT of woman’s reproductive rights. Women now have the ability to vote for the representatives they believe represent them. This is how democracies work.

    God, this whole feminist bullshit is so embarrassing for women who watch the hysterics going on right now. Yes, abortion should be a woman’s choice, on the proviso that women get ALL of the information they need to make an informed choice. Women should be SHOWN, not just informed on a piece of paper, what will happen to their bodies and that of the baby they are carrying, when they make such a life or death decision. Yes, men should take an active role in contraception, I think men not in committed relationships should think long and hard about how they relate to women, emotionally, physically, verbally and sexually, maybe even consider a vasectomy, which is relatively simple and reversible and takes the prospect of abortion off the table.

    • Ah, a respectable traid woman. I expect them to pile on you. They only care about the ‘right type’ of women.

          • You don’t need to be nasty – I was genuinely curious. That was the only result that came up from a Google search.

            Looking at many of your responses, Christian I think you should perhaps give your daughter less access to your keyboard when you are writing for public consumption.

            I make plenty of typos too but I’m generally prepared to own them. I know final proof reading is my responsibility and don’t blame others.

            “Nanna”? Is that meant to be a put down? Not a brilliant riposte – nor respectable for a gentleman!

            That’s OK – I’m a very proud grandmother, ageing disgracefully rather than “respectably”.

  3. What I want to know is where are the men ? Why aren’t they involved or mentioned!!! Or are all these women part of the “ the immaculate conception theory “

    • Do we get to order a woman to get an abortion when we didn’t mean to create a life? Do we get to forbid them to get an abortion? They are our babies too. The current system is just misandry dressed up as ‘freedom’ from……something.

  4. As was stated by a famous actress Mary macarthy to a journalist in Hollywood in the fifties, re.mandy Nolan and the echo ” everything she writes is a lie including and and the “. You can write and publish This absolute utter confected infantile rubbish with impunity then criticise other journals for what they publish? You wimmin are mental seriously…you need serious help then eductation..and many Nolan’s in a position of power? This nations fckd..

  5. In this day & age with all the contraceptive measures available, with the possible exception of rape, there should be very few abortions needed. I wonder about the life of the unfortunate little being in the middle of this discussion. What right does he/her have?

  6. Please note – Trump believes he has the right to support [create] a law
    demanding all ‘woman kind’ to bear fruit [read children] regardless
    including rape. Women ? Seen as a breeding machine & little else.

    • Does he? How do you know? I don’t remember him saying any such thing. Are you sure it’s not just the ‘Trump’ in your head. I saw him helping women break into the heights of corporatism.
      And what laws are you talking about? There are no such laws anyway in the Western world. Other parts of the world however…..

  7. What & when ‘the loose-headed trumpet’ opened his insulting gob
    regarding women is a good way back & I didn’t ‘date it’. Go & ask
    the fool of a man if you must know. Think! I take no orders for any
    form of slackness.

  8. Think about it…in the end we need to ask…what do we care about more…the human species or mother earth….the way we’re going we can’t have both…probably neither
    Great to joke about…but follow the thought experiment to the end
    Those who feel the need for personal insults are hiding behind their fear.. ..


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