Sisterhood Blog

The State of the Uterus

By Sarah Seltzer

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As the President spent his Tuesday prepping for a crucial State of the Union Address, Congress was busy passing yet another sweeping anti-abortion bill, this time H.R.7, a bill designed, primarily to further restrict insurance coverage of abortion, particularly for women with fewer means.

It was part of another banner week for attacks on women’s and reproductive health, which included Mike Huckabee doubling down on the message that the Democrats, because they have pushed for women’s health coverage under the ACA, seek to make women “helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”

Okay then. So for days and days, justified outrage flowed on the internet, and from essentially every women’s health organization in the book, particularly after H.R.7 passed the House. Groups began decrying the “relentless” and “uncaring” bill.

“Today, we saw the latest round in the Republican assault on a woman’s right to choose,” came the statement Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a longtime champion of reproductive rights. “This bill seeks to burden all women’s health care choices in a variety of ways that have nothing to do with federal funds.”

In the midst of all the incensed statements and press releases, one group tried to do something a little bit different. “Ladypartsjustice.com” who brought us a genuinely hilarious video of Sarah Silverman munching snacks with Jesus Christ himself and discussing the fact that fertilized embryos are not actually human beings mounted its own State of the Union Response: the State of the Uterus. “Our goal,” Comedian Lizz Winstead said in a statement , “is to show people just what is getting legislated while they decide to tune out.”

A hugely crucial goal, and a great idea. I’m increasingly, in my own life, turning back to humor as a way to channel my passion for justice and my anger at injustice.

Unfortunately, though, the jokey response fell somewhat flat. That’s because the, um, Uterus in question took a sarcastic, satirical tone, claiming victory rather than defeat. Good news, the reproductive organ-puppet declared: “Republicans and Republicans alike are tirelessly fighting so the uteri in america can have the same rights as the uteri of Saudi Arabia.” Ha ha. It went on from there. However, the Uterus (voiced by Lizz Winstead) had one particularly good line about the Hobby Lobby birth control lawsuit, suggesting “Hobby Lobby employees hot glue their knees together as a form of birth control.”

Still, I would rather have seen something more hard-hitting, a bit that spelled out the dire situation a little more clearly. Like a uterus in chains, maybe? Or a GOP legislator chasing a uterus around? Okay, I’m not a comedian. But you get the idea.

Ultimately, Silverman’s video, which went into great and painful detail about what forced ultrasounds would look like if they were delivered on men (NSFW) was a more effective example of using humor to fight back than the double-layered satire of the State of the Uterus. But ultimately, I hope LadyParts justice keeps innovating humorously for activism. We need all the help we can get in this fight. Serious, sarcastic, witty or gross-out, if it pushes for reproductive justice, I’ll take it.


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