I moved to Texas last week. Well, Austin, Texas which doesn’t quite count, but still, I am now a Texan. And I am quite pleased to adopt the residency status of Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two native Texans who made abortion Americans’ Constitutional right. Weddington won the Roe v. Wade case when she was 26 years old. This made her the youngest person to win a Supreme Court case and a feminist hero to many, myself definitely included. Weddington’s got the best of the traditional Texas characteristics: she’s got Wild West guts, indiscriminate kindness, a fine drawl, and that solid Southern sensibility. She’s a gal that my now-Governor, Rick Perry, could really benefit from being around.
But instead, he is spending his time signing bills to force women choosing abortion to look at sonagrams of the fetus even if they say no. He’s making women sit and wait 24 hours to think over their choice to have an abortion; one more time for Gov. Perry’s sake. He is funding crisis pregnancy centers with state tax dollars. He is holding rallies with religious extremist who believe abortion is preventing the second coming of Christ and the separation of church and state is demonic. He is ignoring all evidence-based practices by funding abstinence-only education because his “personal life” says it works, and is preventing teens with unwanted pregnancies from obtaining abortions without parental consent. Worst of all? He is planning to take these laws and sentiments Federal through his bid for the presidency. He made that loud and clear when he signed an anti-abortion rights pledge last week stating he promises to only appoint anti-choicers to executive and Federal branch positions, and support Federal funding bands and restrictions on abortion services.
I know, that is one depressing paragraph, but never fear, we have abortion gang bangers like Sarah Weddington to offer solutions on dealing with Texas-sized misogynist jerks, even those who hold political office. At the end of Weddington’s book on Roe v. Wade, A Question of Choice, Weddington discusses an action plan for keeping abortion legal and accessible. She puts electing pro-choice candidates, especially Presidential candidates, as a first priority. And from just one of the above examples you can tell you why: anti-abortion fanatics/candidates make punishing any human with a uterus a priority. She suggests we all volunteer, financially support and talk-up pro-choice campaigns, and help educate voters on the impact of their support for anti-choice candidates. Weddington follows up the importance of elections by urging us all to ‘talk pro-choice’: to never call abortion opponents “pro-life”, but to call them “anti-freedom”, “pro-mandaotry birth” and “pro-illegal abortion.” She doesn’t include my favorite sum-up in the book, anit-woman, but I think we get the point. Being vocal about choice, particularly when it concerns Presidential candidates, is incredibly important.
We can’t take a day off from verbalizing how oppressive Perry’s policies are to women. I believe if we keep this verbal counter-attack up, the race for the (Tea Party) Republican nomination i.e. the anti-woman parade, will become an opportunity to help the pro-choice cause. The front running Republican candidates are so extremely zealous in their want to oppress women, and so willing to ignore evidence in the name of their church and personal experiences, that we pro-choicers might just get some footing here with those in the “grey area” in the abortion debate. Let’s point out that Rick Perry wants babies to be women’s major contribution to society, that he thinks education and job growth for women are less important than optimizing women’s birthing potential. Let’s point out that the right not to bear children is central to social equality for women, and that Perry and his fellow conservative minions do not believe in equality, women’s freedom, or women’s potential. Let’s say that loudly, again, again, and again. We need more people helping to fight for abortion rights, and this may just be our ticket to expanding the base.