Welcome to Your Backlash

[Content Note: This post discusses the encroachment on women's, trans men's, and genderqueer people with uteris bodily autonomy and the limitation of their reproductive rights and options, as well as the inherent violence of the anti-choice position and movement.]

Two stories arrived in my inbox in quick succession this morning:

1. Operation Rescue Launches Anti-Abortion Website: "Operation Rescue, an extremist anti-abortion group, has launched a website - abortiondocs.org - which lists the photographs and addresses of abortion providers, as well as maps to find their places of business. The website, which describes itself as the 'largest collection of documents on America's abortion cartel,' aims to list every abortion provider in the country." This is terrorism against abortionists and abortion-seeking people, or people who might ever have need of an abortion, plain and simple.

2. Long-Term Worldwide Decline in Abortions Has Stalled, and Unsafe Abortions Have Increased: "After a period of substantial decline, the global abortion rate has stalled, according to new research from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO). Between 1995 and 2003, the overall number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15–44 years) dropped from 35 to 29; according to the new study, the global abortion rate in 2008 was virtually unchanged, at 28 per 1,000. This plateau coincides with a slowdown, documented by the United Nations, in contraceptive uptake, which has been especially marked in developing countries. The researchers also found that nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and almost all unsafe abortions occur in the developing world."

On the one hand, these stories each deserve their own post, and I could spend the entire rest of my day writing 3,000 word pieces about each of them. On the other hand, they are part and parcel of the same issue, which is that the anti-choice position is inherently violent, whether it is forcing people with uteri who do not want to be pregnant to submit their bodies against their will to pregnancy and childbirth, or whether it is forcing people with uteri who do not want to be pregnant to seek out unsafe means of terminating a pregnancy—and there is nothing else to say but this: This is incompatible with freedom, if the word is to have any meaning at all.

This is an overtly misogynistic campaign to control the bodies of lives and women—and, by extension if not explicit design, a campaign that wants to wrestle away self-determination (and self-definition) from men and genderqueer people with uteri, too.

It is a violent backlash against the progress of feminism/womanism and gender equality. It is global, it is state-sanctioned in much of the world, and it is consigning people, mostly female people, to injury, to death, to lives they did not want.

This is not Woman's Work. The responsibility for turning this tide belongs to us all.

[See also: Misty's post. Respective hat tips to Shaker MinervaB and the Guttmacher Institute.]

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