The Deal We Won’t Make
Posted on January 19, 2017
We need to have a talk: It’s been more than a year of volatile, sexist campaigning, and months of prepping for the most hostile anti-choice administration we’ve ever seen ascend to power. Combine that with a week of weak think pieces, hand-wringing over whether a feminist can be anti-abortion (nah) or whether a march can truly be pro-woman if it isn’t explicitly standing for reproductive freedom (hard nah). We here at LPJL are down to our last thread of patience for people who insist that valuing access to abortion is detrimental to our politics.
When The Hill writes about the politics of “Democrats [wedding] themselves to abortion at their own peril,” they manage to completely unwed themselves from the humanity of the issue. This isn’t a Fantasy Football/Celebrity Apprentice situation of politicians getting seats and making deals — these are people’s lives. Are they blind to the fact that not wedding ourselves to abortion rights as states are abolishing access to abortion in their legislatures is the real peril?
So, rest assured: This flood of articles stating that a commitment to abortion politics isn’t the worthiest of fights is viscerally horrifying.
Winning elections means nothing if women in Kentucky (or Mississippi or Utah or Missouri or North Dakota or South Dakota or Wyoming…) have only one abortion clinic in their entire state. A political victory is a victory for who exactly, if a pregnant person in Ohio is told that her control over her body stops if a pregnancy she needs to terminate is past 20 weeks. And someone find me a victory lap for a woman in Iowa using medicaid, who needs to personally get the governor’s permission to pay for her abortion.
We aren’t winning shit if women everywhere can’t get access to safe, affordable care. Full stop.
We’ve seen this with other civil rights issues — Democrats were told to keep LGBT individuals at a distance and were told that they were falling on their swords for an unwinnable cause. That is, until we collectively decided to stand together with a “how fucking dare you?” and insisted that there are human rights that simply cannot be bargained away. It’s way past time for repro-activists, allies and uterus-owning individuals to have our “how dare you?” moment.
Uterus-owning individuals are always called on to make concessions to pass legislation that is supposedly “more important.” Whether it’s the constant addition of anti-choice riders to unrelated bills with minimal pushback, agreeing to exclude abortion coverage from major bills, or urging our politicians to tap dance around the damn word “abortion,” anti-choicers have always forced pro-abortion women to shrink back, take up less space and to compromise. That ends now. Let this be the moment where you look at your elected officials (on every level) and put them on notice: If they want your vote, they not only need to be defending abortion rights but expanding them.
We understand the glacial, bureaucratic and aggressively unsexy nature of political progress — trust us, we get it. Compromises and concessions are made every day — however, you’re not going to see civil rights victories won by kowtowing to a room full of white men without enough skin in the game to protect these rights. If this year has taught us anything it’s this: They’re not going to throw us a bone, they’re gonna grab our pussies.
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