I don’t want to write another blog post about abortion, but here I go again. As I pull up my chair to my desk every week, I am brimming to distill the insights and puzzles I am encountering in my 30th year on Earth. I’m a blogger, after all. I have a lot of thoughts. I want to write about the fact that I’m getting older but still feel young. I want to write about being American, and culturally but not religiously Jewish, and a millennial.
So I sit down at my keyboard and flex my fingers, but then I say to myself, inevitably, “Oh, but I really should write about what’s happening with abortion right now. Because it’s really dire this time.” I do this again and again and again. This abortion thing, this whole issue of my right to determine my own future, this subject that has been my “beat” as a writer, on and off, for over a decade, it never goes away. In fact, since I first wrote about it in high school (speculating on a George W. Bush presidency and its effect on the Supreme Court), the situation has gotten worse and worse and worse.
At this very moment, reproductive rights are ricocheting from the legislatures to the courts and back to the legislatures in state after state. It’s like an endless game of ping pong with women’s bodily autonomy as the ball, getting battered and bent every time it is smacked back and forth. The legislatures pass a restrictive bill that threatens clinics with closure and contravenes Roe; the courts bat these laws down as unconstitutional, so the legislatures try again. Protesters harass abortion providers. Clinics close. Women are left without recourse.
In North Carolina, a new bill has been signed] that will severely limit abortion. One clinic that was expected to survive has shut down for the time being, and local activists are deeply worried about the cost to clinics of meeting these targeted restrictions.
In Texas, the omnibus bill that Wendy Davis filibustered has passed, and new shaming bills have been introduced, including one that requires women to take adoption classes before obtaining abortions, echoing the Onion in its absurdity. In Ohio, in Mississippi, in Kansas, in Wisconsin, reproductive rights aren’t just continuously under attack. They’re fading away.
I am a lucky, lucky New York woman. If I ever needed an abortion, I could go to my GP and get a medication abortion within a week — probably covered by insurance, too. Very little will probably ever change that reality for me. But I can’t be complacent while my counterparts around the country have to travel miles and miles and scrape the money together to get the health care that they need.
I want so badly to write about silly, diverting things like my ambiguity about pedicures and tweezing and plucking and primping and other rituals of womanhood. I want to write big, profound posts about the way our society’s prioritizing work over pleasure allow us to be exploited by corporations, both at work and at play. I want to explore what it means to be Jewish but not a believer and to be spiritual but not religious.
But my rights are still not enshrined, and so I will write about abortion until my fingers hurt, because I want the anti-choice lawmakers of this country to recognize that I am a person, and I am here, and I have a voice, and I won’t go away until they do.