I wanted to say just a hair more about what Representative Karen Camper is up to with HJR 132, because I love it. Because, to me, this is brilliantly playing politics.
See, here’s the thing. Right now, the Republicans are putting forth a joint resolution saying that nothing in the State Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. And the Democrats have put forth a resolution nearly identical that says that nothing in the State Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion except in instances of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s health.
And many of us have said, “Oh my god, is that not the most moronic thing ever?” Because here’s what the Democrat who explained to us this strategy said–they want to force a vote on the Democratic resolution so that they can get Republicans on record as either voting against a Constitutional Amendment to restrict abortion (note, though, the tricksiness, since it’s certainly not the only resolution) or get them on record as voting against exceptions that most people, even in this anti-choice* state support.
Of course, there seems to be no game plan for what to do if moderate Republicans do decide to vote for the Democratic version. And no real acknowledgment that they don’t have to vote for the Democratic version because they have enough votes to pass their own version.
And so, either way, Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to pass bills that claim that the Constitution of this state doesn’t really trust women any more than they do. That’s playing politics all right, but look who it lets right off the hook?
Any member of the legislative body who might have a slight chance of having an epiphany that “hey, I might think abortion is wrong, but I feel kind of gross about passing sweeping laws preventing it when it’s not my body on the line.” never have to have that. The precedent is established–everyone thinks abortion is wrong, now we’re just talking how wrong.
What Camper’s doing, if she can pull it off, is drawing attention back to the fact that there are actual women whose bodies pregnancies and abortions happen in and to and that there’s something kind of gross about the State obsessing over women’s reproductive organs.
How does she do that? By forcing a consideration of men’s reproductive organs and forcing folks to go on record voting “What men do with their bodies isn’t our business; what women do with their bodies is our business.” Put the issue square on the table that way–that the State really, really does want to treat women differently than men.
I don’t know if it will change minds, but I am all for someone forcing the Truth to the table.
*And I use the term “anti-choice” reluctantly because there really isn’t a strong enough word for what’s really going on here. As we’ve seen repeatedly, voters in this state keep voting into office people who are trying to enact laws that prevent women from even knowing what’s going on with our bodies. We’re not just talking about cutting off your right to choose what happens to your body when you find out that you’re pregnant. We’re talking about cutting off your right to even know about what types of sexual activity might help prevent (or in some cases guarantee it) pregnancy.
I mean, I’d like to tell you that we’re just having a fight over abortion, but if you look at the political landscape in this state, we’re having a fundimental fight over not just whether women should have control of their own bodies, but whether women should be given the information we need to take control.
It’s not about “choice” or “abortion.” That’s all surface-level shit that sparks fireworks and gets people riled up. It is about a fundimentally deeper problem–the state does not trust women. It doesn’t trust us with information about how our bodies work. It doesn’t trust us not to all be lying sluts. It doesn’t trust us not to screw over and lie to men. It doesn’t trust us not to fuck up our pregnancies. It doesn’t trust us not to kill our fetuses on a lark. It doesn’t trust us with children if some husband isn’t around to monitor us (but it doesn’t trust that any man would marry us without being tricked into it).
In this state, we can’t even get the legislators to accept us as neutral political bodies. We are always already** viewed as evil con artists who must be kept ignorant and under surveillance for the safety of those around us.
**Damn straight I did too use “always already” correctly and smoothly and in a way that makes sense.