DE # 2

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Reproductive rights are at the forefront of current issues today. I am really glad to be taking this class currently and having access to such articles because they really open my eyes to the injustices occurring. Feminists have a lot at stake currently, but not just them, every woman has a lot at stake. The Crunk Feminist Collective article gives excerpts of bills that are trying to be passed currently in our government. Reading through them I was just stunned at what they are proposing. These people who are supposedly against abortion are referred to as being pro-life, as in the favor of life. It seems very contradictory that they would refuse a dying woman an abortion, because then they would ultimately lose two lives. I just can't seem to understand their thought process through all of this. Women's freedom and everything that goes along that is at stake. Taking away our choices and voices and trying to oppress women. I do not think it is fair that most of these decisions are being made by men who will never have an abortion, or even get pregnant. It is just very unjust and contradictory. Nobody should be able to make those types of decisions for women, women should be able to decide. The billboard that was recently put up in Soho also really angered me, how blatantly racists and oppressive it is! Throwing those types of statements around in such public places and putting those things in the media gives many people the wrong idea. These sort of things can have profound effects on people who don't know much about feminism and reproductive rights and choices. It just really bothers me that such things can be thrown around in the media so easily.


Both articles suggest that they way feminists and women should respond is by being active and showing these people in our government and in the media that the voices and choices of women cannot be taken away or limited. The ACRJ articles says that, "reproductive justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls, and will be achieved when women and girls have the economic, social and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality and reproduction for ourselves, our families and our communities in all areas of our lives." I really like this quote and very much agree with it. A government is supposed to be there for its people and not try to oppress them.

5 Comments

The bills currently being proposed really stunned me as well. It's infuriating that the government is saying that they're "pro-life" by trying to put an end to funding abortions. By denying pregnant women a life-saving procedure due to complications, they are murderers. I don't understand how something like this could ever be justified. Why would you end two lives to prove an invalid point?
I also agreed with what you said about the racist billboards. It shows that as a country, we are not only still oppressing women, but minorities as well. This seems so backwards to me. As a country, we have set an example to other nations to give people of all genders and race the same respect. We clearly have always havd tons of room to improve, but by being blatantly and publicly racist, don't we not only oppress our people, but show the world that it's okay to do so?
I guess to me, that through this who movement of trying to end funding for abortion, I'm not only worried about the women in the United States, but around the world. If all of these countries see us not supporting our women, what on Earth does that say to them? It not only gives their government's excuses to oppress, but kills the hope of all the helpless women. If one of the most powerful nations in the world can't give equal treatment to all its' people, regardless of gender, how does any other woman around the world have any hope?

Something I'm really interested in, and one topic you touched on, is not only are women's voices being taken away, but who exactly is speaking for them? Within the government, according to a Newsweek article, 90 of the seats between Congress and Senate are filled by women. These 90 seats are out of the cumulative 535. This does inevitably mean that men are speaking for women. Men are speaking, and making laws, based on THEIR views of women's rights and experiences. While I will not enter into this argument much, once a representative is elected, the public has very little control over what these politicians do.

What can we do to change the fact that men are speaking for women? Or, perhaps more pragmatically, since the unfortunate truth is that it will be awhile before women are the majority in our government, how can we open the eyes of these men? Is that even possible? The fact is, these politicians would need some sort of incentive to reevaluate not only their personal beliefs, that supposedly don’t interfere with their judgment, but also the law.

I believe its Dorothy Roberts, in another excerpt of "Killing the Black Body", who discusses the concept of positive and negative liberty. The bills that are being proposed are a great example of both. Positive liberty involves the government taking steps to create liberty. Negative liberty refers to setting the 'private sphere' of family aside and not interfering. Limiting the circumstances of who, what, when, where, and why an abortion may take place is an example of both. For instance, the government is stepping in to provide 'liberty' in the sense of saving the potential life of a child. The proposal to refuse any monetary aid for mothers who may need an abortion for various reasons is an example of negative liberty. As the article points out, it is an attack on poor women. The act of refusing monetary aid and declaring it the 'private sphere', where government does not belong, takes the position that the government should not be encouraging these things. At the same time, as they've yet to overturn Roe v. Wade, certain abortions are legal. This means that a woman can, in fact, receive an abortion without government interference. However, as this is the effect of negative liberty, only women who can afford it, are truly given the 'choice'.

My own personal opinion is that most politicians (not all, to be fair) need a reminder of the law. Not just the law but the spirit of the law, so to speak. The United States’ laws, while definitely founded in a heteronormative mind frame, lays out simple, not easy, concepts that representatives of the people are meant to pursue. Also, a major problem is the wide disconnect between the government and the public. Few people are truly aware of what's going on, the things that are being proposed, the process that involves or what action they can take. So how can we be surprised that these men have been able to take advantage of women's invisible status in society and run with it? Once again, our society, unfortunately, needs to take responsibility for the way our government is operating and stop blaming individuals for feeding off of the system that's been handed to them.

I too was angered by the Soho billboard. I thought that the race issue was a red herring. I think that the fact that so many African American women's pregnancies end in abortion is perhaps indicative of the lack of reproductive options. This billboard however did not address that issue, instead it chose to shame those who did get abortions. Too many of these bills going through the House right now are focused on the wrong things. If these politicians are worried about abortions they should be the first in line to fund family planning places like Planned Parenthood, so that unwanted pregnancies can be prevented, not punished. As an aside, I think that Republicans are focusing on abortion as a distraction from having to fix the economy (like they promised). Unfortunately, it's working.

Hi Hana, I really like how you pointed out the contradictory undertone that was expressed in the description of the Pitts Bill. As I was reading about the Pitts Bill I was trying to understand the logic behind what the bill would do to women if it were passed. It made me think that the lives of women are less important than the need for some people in government to stigmatize abortion to the point of choosing death of women over abortion. And you made a good point in saying that not only would restricting a dying woman from saving her life through abortion kill the woman, but also the unborn child. So, this bill is saying they are all about pro-life, but in reality life isn’t important at all in this bill; what is important is ending abortions for women no matter what the circumstances (including ending lives of women and their unborn children). A woman carrying a child should have the choice of abortion if that woman’s life could end without one, and for people to try and take the right of living away from woman is absolutely ridiculous. I also agree Hana with your point about men making most of the decisions, and causing most of the stigmatizing of abortion that leaks into the media and into the minds of people within society.

The billboards in Soho were very disturbing to me as well, and I can’t imagine seeing something like that in person and how it would make me feel. Things like this should not be thrown around so lightly, things like feminism, and importance of reproductive rights are much more positive messages to send than racism and oppression. I think you put it very well when you said the point of our government is to protect its citizens not put them in further danger by taking away health resources and rights.

I agree with Serena in the idea that the best way to prevent abortions and unwanted pregnancies is through education. The funding and promotion of responsible sex education is vital in lowering abortion rates. Therefore the current bill before congress that cuts planned parenthood funding is not only irresponsible it is dangerous. With more unwanted pregnancies and more children born to mothers who don't want them and can't take care of them, there will be more and more social problems such as increased poverty rates. The freedom we have in this country simply can't stop because a couple of old white guys (well tan, John Boehner) want to cut funding for programs just because they are uncomfortable with it. In feminism this is a vital importance because we cant move forward unless we have the right to choose over our bodies.

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