Image courtesy of: http://elizabethajomale.tumblr.com/post/106274743769
“Embedded in the American Constitution was the right to privacy. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well- meaning but without understanding.” ~ Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
What is women’s fundamental freedom?
Our stories are personal and parallel
Reproductive and Sexual
It is my mother’s in 1962: Age 24
Whose kidney disease left her unable to bear more children
BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER
When abortion was illegal
No option for a tubal ligation
Instead she was placed on medication
It is my mother’s in 1981: Age 43
A missed period and a pregnancy scare
When abortion was legal
An inevitable decision she would have had to make if the results had been positive
BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER IF SHE DIDN’T
It is mine in 1998: Age 37
Mother of two beautiful boys
Abortion is legal
Loud, violent, deadly protests
Fierce and frightening gauntlets
form to block entrances to care
I fear a failure of birth control
An accidental pregnancy
I want a permanent procedure
The experience felt like a Prohibition speakeasy:
sordid and secretive,
a place of secret codes and knocks.
Why is it that we vainly celebrate,
and strongly sanctify,
men’s sexual freedom and prowess
without risk of consequences?
They have unconstrained access to
erectile dysfunction medications,
While women’s vaginas and uteruses
are held under lock and key
by legislative laymen
intent on keeping women either virtuous or vilified.
WE WANT A SENSE OF OUR OWN AGENCY!
A woman’s right to privacy begins and ends with her body.
A woman’s body is her house.
She has a right to stand her ground
against all unwanted intruders
whose sole aim is to take away
her freedom, safety and privacy.
Day 9: Much of this poem has been lifted from a speech I gave before the state Constitutional Review Commission last spring. There had been an attempt by the Religious Right to amend the right to privacy. All State Supreme Court cases involving abortion had hinged on this fundamental right. Thankfully, the Commission decided not to take up their attempt at an amendment. However, this legislative session and new governor are bent on restricting access to care for all women. As I write this, bus loads of advocates have driven to the state capital to lobby against proposed legislation related to further restrictions. Interestingly, the quote from Justice Brandeis was from a case about Prohibition!