Yesterday Tennesseans approved a state constitutional amendment allowing politicians to regulate and even ban abortion. This morning, I’m struck by a sense of loss.
Of course feminism has suffered a bitter loss. Amendment 1 denies decades of activism and enlightenment. But I also feel a keen personal loss. Yesterday’s voters claimed a part of my body, and a part of my daughters’ too. Here, our bodies have become property of the state, potentially illegal to use as we see fit. How could I not take this personally?
What most shocks me about yesterday’s so-called pro-lifer win is the rhetoric surrounding Amendment 1. Was Tennessee really an “abortion destination?” When a student warned me of this looming vacation trend, I thought she was quoting The Onion. And how, exactly, does banning abortion keep women “safe?”
At best, claims like these pay lip service to sexual myths we’ve already exposed or arguments we’ve already settled. At worst, they’re nonsense.
What’s most frightening is that Tennessee just set a precedent in culturally Neanderthal stone. We’ve regulated women’s bodies. We can do so again. It’s probably cliché to allude to The Handmaid’s Tale here. But still.
I often don’t agree with my antagonizingly pessimistic husband. Whereas he believes that public education serves to keep the populace complacent, I’m an idealist educator. But today, he’s right. We are cockroaches. The miracle of life championed by Amendment 1 and its ilk is empty slogan. Life isn’t a miracle. Life happens. Because horror vacui. Nature abhors a vacuum.
My nature abhors a state that boasts a judgmental gaze on my body. I cringe at the idea of some guy who looks like Freud deciding what I should or should not do with my sexuality. The state assembly-cum-peeping Tom shouldn’t get to peer into my privacy, much less legislate it.
Because I believe differently than many Tennesseans, my arguments will likely be dismissed by many as irreverently leftist. And remember: this is the South. It’s not lady-like to criticize and complain. At least not publicly.
Because I’m educated, I’ll not be taken seriously. See my above nod to Aristotelian philosophy and United Statesian anti-intellectualism. Because I’m angry, I’ll be labeled moody, subject to my hormones. See above state and cultural dismissal of me as little more than my body.
But to those of you who just voted to allow legislators to regulate women’s reproductive systems: don’t call me an atheist commie. You’re trying to look up my skirt not unlike China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission might.