Freedom vs. the war against women

April 27, 2022

by Terry Moon

There’s no doubt that the U.S. Supreme Court is set to trash women’s right to abortion—they may already have done so by the time you read this. The lie that they and Republicans tout for their misogynist actions is concern for “pre-born children.” That lie has long been discredited by their deadly disregard for children once they are actually born and actually children—especially if those children are Black, Brown or poor.

REPUBLICANS SPEW HATRED

Women march for abortion rights in Chicago, October 2021. Photo: Terry Moon for News & Letters.

What is revealed by the avalanche of forced pregnancy laws is a deep anger and hatred of women and a neo-fascist hoped-for reassertion of men’s “right” to control every aspect of our lives. That hatred was recently mouthed by a woman, Kelli Stargel, a sponsor of Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban bill, when she argued against any exceptions for survivors of rape. Her words dripped with contempt: “I fear for the men who are going to be accused of a rape so that the woman could have an abortion,” she snarled. “A woman is going to say she was raped so she could have the abortion.”

Of course, because women lie all the time. Because as Missouri Republican Todd Akin famously opined: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” To Akin, women either lie—an illegitimate rape—or they can’t get pregnant even if actually raped. Either way, the woman is a liar. Or hear the spite coming from Rick Santorum’s mega-donor Foster Friess’ idiot statement that “[B]ack in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.” But it turns out that aspirin is too much of a contraceptive for a fanatic like Santorum who was quoted saying: “It’s [contraception] not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also…procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen.”

It isn’t only women that these Republican fanatics hate, and the attacks won’t stop when abortion is illegal and women and providers are being jailed. And it isn’t only that they will deepen their attack on birth control as U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn did at the hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. There Blackburn outright attacked the 1965 Supreme Court decision that decreed that contraception was legal. She blathered: “Constitutionally unsound rulings like Griswold vs. Connecticut…confused Tennesseans and left Congress wondering who gave the court permission to bypass our system of checks and balances.”

Contempt and hate have worked so well for Republicans that they will come down harder on LGBTQ+ people, especially Trans people who so clearly trample every notion the Right has of “how things are supposed to be.”

WHITE MEN PRETEND OPPRESSION

Josh Hawley aims to narrowly define what men and women are, by claiming that men are under terrible attack by the Left (read Democrats). “They [the Left] want to define the traditional masculine virtues—things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness—as a danger to society.” Everything he says is a distortion or outright lie, but it’s done cleverly and plays to a desire to be the one oppressed and to oh so righteously fight back. While he claims that he is “not here tonight to tell you that men are victims,” he just can’t help himself: “Still—can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games.”

Hawley wants to recruit an army of aggrieved men to fight back against a “Left [that] is telling America and its men, you’re evil. You’re terrible. You must apologize and submit to your government masters to be reformed.” He doesn’t mention the Women’s Liberation Movement in his talk, but that’s who he’s after, and anyone else that dares to question or fight against what oppresses them. This lie based on misogyny is what he sees as his stepping stone to power.

So, no, this is not going to end when abortion is illegal. The aim is to push us all off the face of the earth—all of us: women, LGBTQ+, Black and Brown and/or poor, anyone who has questioned the status quo, anyone who has rejected what this society has told us about what it means to be a human being, because it doesn’t speak to who we are or want to become.

Karl Marx wrote that no one combats freedom; at most he combats the freedom of others. We are not only fighting for the right to control our bodies, as vital as that fight is. We are involved in a fight for a universal freedom. Our time shows clearer than any previous one how that revolutionary struggle must be so deep that all human relationships are transformed.

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