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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

 

Putting women (and others) in their places

by Tom Sullivan

Alabama is the "Heart of Dixie." Old time misogyny there is not forgotten.

Eric Johnson, founder of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the Republican-sponsored near-total abortion ban passed Tuesday night by the Alabama Senate, told NPR the dynamic supporting Roe v. Wade had changed. "[W]e're at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step," Johnson said.

All those voting for the bill were men. All Republicans. When signed into law by Alabama's governor, women who have abortions will face no sanction, but doctors performing them could face "10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure," BBC reports. The only exception is for saving the life of the mother.

The American Civil Liberties Union insisted it would challenge the law when passed, as it had past efforts by Alabama to restrict access to abortion.

During floor debate, Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R) led the effort for passage of the ban. Its purpose is, Chambliss said, “So that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.”

Observers noted he avoided speaking of emergency contraception, insisting up until a woman is "known to be pregnant," she still has options:


Responding to a question about whether a fertilized egg at an IVF clinic counted as a "person," Chambliss replied, "The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant."
Thus, a fertilized egg is not their concern if a woman is not present for men to force to give birth. The misogynistic logic is ironclad.

The Daily Beast's Sam Stein noted the obvious: such bills have sprung up around the country since the addition of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. To borrow a line from Andrew Gillum: “Now, I’m not calling Mr. Kavanaugh an anti-abortionist. I’m simply saying the anti-abortionists believe he’s an anti-abortionist.”

Abortion restrictions. Photo IDs. Poll taxes. Surgically precise gerrymanders. Imprisoning asylum seekers. Police profiling and violence against black Americans. "Incel" violence. Anti-government militias. Nazis, and more.

From legal, to quasi-legal, to criminally violent actions, an old order lashes out like a cornered animal to maintain what it considers its birthright: social, legal, religious, political, and physical domination of others. Conservative leaders in Alabama and elsewhere are fighting to keep women, people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and people of disfavored social classes in their proper places. How very American of them.

Women by the millions marching in resistance to a bigoted misogynist occupying the nation's highest office. Women resisting generations of sexual harassment and second-class citizenship. Demanding recognition of women's own personhood has kicked into high gear the old order's efforts to return them to their kitchens and to the submissiveness someone else's God intended.

Here's a snarky message for that old order: Good luck with that.

UPDATE: After that, a palate cleanser