I've been busy, busy, BUSY!
Resistance work is demanding, y'all.
One of my recent activities was to participate in a panel at Catholic University in DC on whether prolife people can be feminist. It was a fascinating look at the friction between the prolife movement and those folk who are at odds with many of the prolife movement's regressive policies...but really dig those policies that seek to shame, manipulate, and control women.
Anyhoo, I want to correct one thing I said during the discussion. While attempting a clever response to panelists critique of a Teen Vogue article on how folk can support someone who has had an abortion, I had a verbal malfunction and said something along the lines of Teen Vogue gets things wrong.
Teen Vogue gets so much RIGHT and I'll gladly write that 100 times on a chalk board to atone for getting that response SO DAMN WRONG.
Just look at all of these Teen Vogue articles getting shit right!
My opening remarks are below and you can check out a video of the discussion here.
I would like to thank Catholic University for inviting me to participate on this panel. As a Missourian who grew up hearing Missouri native and infamous anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly rail against feminism as a threat to families and peace on earth, I must admit to a certain measure of surprise that people who identify as prolife are seeking inclusion in the feminist movement. I’ve been a reproductive justice organizer and activist for over a decade, so very little shocks me anymore. This one gave me pause.
Feminism is an action agenda to secure the social, economic, and political equality of women. The prolife movement seeks to deny women access to abortion, birth control, fertility treatments, give employers the right to deny coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, and defund reproductive healthcare providers. In Missouri, the prolife movement has even pushed legislation that would require a woman get permission from a man to gain access to abortion. In its quest to make abortion illegal and criminalize providers and the women who have abortions by any means necessary, the prolife movement has aligned with regressive politicians who seek to limit access to the vote, push legislation like Stand Your Ground that has denied countless mothers the right to raise their children in safe communities, dismantle and block access to healthcare that would dramatically improve deplorable maternal and infant mortality rates, not to mention provide funding for programs that enable people with disabilities and seniors to live and participate in our communities. Prolife has lifted-up politicians who promote immigration policies that define babies as “anchors” and mothers as “illegal” opportunistic hustlers, and who are moving to destroy environmental protections that will impact the health and safety of future generations.
I live in a city where a 13-year-old child was legally shot dead for ruffling through a car, where Mike Brown was murdered, and where a Black mother named Anna Brown died in agony on a jailhouse floor for having the audacity to seek emergency care without insurance coverage. I live in a region caught in the consequences of the prolife agenda, where there are neighborhoods with an infant mortality rate that is worse than some developing countries, like Uzbekistan and Vietnam. There’s a mandatory 72 hour waiting period for abortion, one provider left in the state, and over 30 bills to further restrict access moving in the legislature, but Black babies are four times more likely to die in their first year than white babies, Black mothers are three times more likely to die after or during childbirth, but we can’t get a hearing on expanding healthcare coverage to try and improve those numbers because the legislature can’t be bothered.
No, one cannot be prolife and be a feminist too.
I can appreciate the attraction of feminism as women seek ways to survive the Trump regime. Our nation is now led by a man who thinks women who experience sexual harassment should just get another job, who has a history of boorish behavior that was alarming in a business context and is horrifying to behold in the commander and chief, and who just floated a budget proposal that threatens the stability of millions of households, particularly those led by women.
It is possible to support, find comfort, and feel empowered by parts of feminism without being feminist. It is not possible to support the prolife movement and be a feminist.