Once Again, I’m Angry
I debated for the last 24 hours if I should write about what’s happening to abortion rights or if I should write about literally anything else so I could not think about it for a minute. But here we are (Sunset and Camden!*). I’m full of feelings. Let’s do it.
One thing first: access to abortion is not just about women. It’s about anyone who can get pregnant and it’s about anyone who can get anyone pregnant. That means it’s about everyone except, arguably, cis gay men who only sleep with cis gay men. But of course it’s also about their friends, their family, their peers. Access to reproductive health affects everyone. It’s a person’s right to choose whether or not to keep their pregnancy but that choice affects those around them. And so a quick note for any men who have sex with people who can get pregnant but are not yelling right now: never forget how my reproductive freedom affects your life. My access to birth control, to Plan B, to abortion, gives you freedom you would not otherwise have. It’s why you’re also not a parent right now. Why we’re not married. Why you aren’t paying child support. Why you’re not co-parenting. Why you’re not babysitting for a friend. Just because we, as a society, like to put everything on the pregnant person doesn’t mean you’re actually off the hook. You should be angry, because they’re infringing on your life and choices too.
And that’s what I actually wanted to talk about. Anger. The incredible Rebecca Traister wrote a whole book about it but I need to do something with the swirl of chaos in my body. By which I mean sit here for a minute and yell about yelling.
Here’s what’s happened in the last 18 months or so: The rise of #MeToo (shoutout Tarana). The Kavanaugh hearings. A rise in increasingly escalating abortion restrictions, culminating in Alabama passing a law to ban it outright.
(QUICK OTHER SIDEBAR: The law is NOT YET IN EFFECT. You can still get an abortion in Alabama today.)
Here’s what else happened when each one of those things happened: women screamed. They went to the internet, to the streets, to the pulpit and put their hearts and bodies on the line, pleading to be heard. They told their most private secrets - the assaults they survived, the abortions they never told their parents about, the leers they suffered. And the people in power turned their heads and pretended like they had no idea what was happening. During the Kavanaugh hearings I likened it to feeling like the entire world was in couples therapy, with half of the population sitting on one side of the couch sobbing and trying to articulate their pain, and the other half sitting on the other side with their hands across their chest yelling, I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHY WE’RE HERE RIGHT NOW. And the therapist is Twitter (or something, the analogy breaks down a little there).
In these moments, we are watching power corrupt in real time. When you see an entire population come together (let’s throw gun control and the ACA in here now, too), saying, “you are hurting me,” and have their will systematically ignored, it gets into your bones. This anger and sadness that is coursing through my body is amplified by the seeming futility of it all. We are supposed to be by the people, for the people. And I know that sounds trite in the year 2019 but still. I want it to be true.
But of course, we can’t allow the feelings of futility to take over, or else we actually lose. We have to keep fighting and talking and sharing our pain. (Of course, if you, for whatever reason, can’t, don’t. We see you. We hear you in your silence. Your pain is yours to do with what is best for you.)
My favorite way to deal with my anger is to give my money away. I also, as a principle, like to give my money to local versus national organizations. Local orgs are generally far smaller, with far less name recognition, so your dollars go further. This includes affiliated organization such as Planned Parenthood, where the donations to a local clinic may be far more valuable than giving to the national Federation. (Also FYI: all of Alabama’s abortion clinics are independently owned, not PP-affiliated, so keep that in mind if you want to keep your support to the states currently most in crisis.)
So as a closing statement, here are some organizations you can give to as we continue to fight.
(Orgs that help patients pay for other costs, including housing, travel, and other ancillary costs as needed)
The Brigid Alliance
Independent Clinic Support
Abortion Care Network
*That’s a quick musical reference for anyone looking for a little levity.