By Carol Fondiller
I’m holding a picket sign again, my feet hurt again, and people look past the sign that I picked up from a pile of signs, something about abortion being legal and bombings are not. Yep, back in the ol’ fox hole – again.
For the past five years now, abortion clinics have been torched or bombed, doctors have been kidnapped and clients and patients have been harassed and threatened by people who plead, “Oh, don’t kill your baby!”
It’s a marvel to me how people forget current history.
In one of Reagan’s campaign speeches he spoke of how far women had come in his administration – as if he and those of his political ilk had helped them get there. It’s as if there were no history of women’s right to choose over their biology, no history of suffragists chaining themselves to public buildings, marching, being arrested, no history of women acting in an “unladylike” manner in their struggle for enfranchisement. It’s as if someone wiped out all of history.
Before Ronnie was the Void.
It’s particularly galling to see women under thirty buying the whole repressive package – “Yes, I’m a doctor, lawyer, policeman, truck driver, C.P.A., miner, general, anchorwoman – but I’m not a women’s libber and I got to where I am with no one’s help!” And the ever-popular real women don’t argue, they discuss. These post-Beatles’ era women who can now have “non-traditional” jobs and even THINK of asking for on-site day-care and even think about thinking about comparable pay, think about the same athletic scholarship opportunities offered to women as are offered to men. These women who were born when I was in college are taking for granted attitudes and choices I didn’t even imagine when I was in high school. And that goes from the right of access to accurate, unbiased information about birth control.
Well, Goddess knows, there’s a saying that those who forget or don’t learn about history are condemned to repeat it. And, my dear younger sisters, this is the history Phyllis and Jerry and Ronnie have in store for us. January 22nd was the 13th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision of the Supreme Court.
As I remember, that decision reversed a decision of a lower court’s ruling that abortion was murder to the decision that the matter of abortion was a private matter between a woman and her physician. I read Simone De Bouvoir’s “Second Sex,” and Grave’s “White Goddess” in high school, so to me that decision was long overdue. Anyone remember what’s her name and the thalidomide baby, and how she went to one of those cold liberal northern countries for an abortion? You do? Well, your 30-year high school reunion is coming up, also.
I’m one of those women who’s had a taste of the world when abortions were illegal, and a sample of how it is now that women have the right to their own choice – and I am stating here and now that abortion is not my favorite form of birth control. But what happens if you are ill from the pill and the diaphragm slips? In the past, bar maids, receptionists, dancers, students, teachers did not get maternity leave, and if I may remind you, at this time maternity leaves and benefits are being cut from some of the fringe benefits in some jobs, including the local, state, county and federal agencies which in the past have been the main employers of most of the few jobs where women could get seniority.
And heeeeere’s Ronnie co-opting again – this time from Mao, praising the born-again new feudalists as 70,000 of them assembled in Washington, D.C. on the 13th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade decision – praising them “on their long march for the right to life.” Well, of course Ronnie would praise the new feudalists, Ronnie needs a constant supply of vulnerable expandable welfare wombs to ensure a steady supply of scab and unskilled labor and cannon fodder to protect his “Shining City on the Hill.” That is why there is more concern about the contents of the womb than for the destiny of the fully formed, already existing sentient female-type human being who if she chooses will be living with it for nearly a year, at least.
Because of the pill and legalized abortion, there has been a decline in Anglo-Saxon babies for adoption by the less vulgarly fertile upper classes.
This same administration which is supporting the new feudalists is also re-promulgating the old myths that: 1) women don’t hold “real jobs”; 2) if a woman has a job, she doesn’t need it as much as a man. Now do you see why I call these people new feudalists? They’re gonna take us right back to pre-Magna Carta days.
Several years ago, I took part in an abortion speak-out sponsored by a pro-choice group. I was disappointed that other women and I were preaching to the already converted. No high school girls or college women heard the other women’s or my histories about coat hangers, green soap, knitting needles piercing uterine walls, being raped by failed doctors on the table, of the men in jail, out of town, dead, or married to someone else, of not having the few thousand dollars to have it neatly and cleanly done in a nice little villa on Doheny Drive by an abortionist-to-the-stars.
Because, believe me younger sisters, if anti-abortion legislation is enacted, it will only affect the middle and low income people as have the inroads on federal funding for abortion for the poor. Well, surely you didn’t think that Reagan would force his cronies wives, daughters, mistresses to have unwanted children, would you? That’s different.
It’s too bad that no one has told you, younger sisters, about being driven by a panic-stricken lover to County General where, bleeding and in pain, you were questioned by homicide detectives; of being called stupid by a young intern because you nearly killed yourself. No doctor, just poor. Spending three weeks flat on your back talking to other women who were also pariahs. The shady ladies of obstetrics. A 13-year old who didn’t know she was pregnant until she was five months along and couldn’t remember who did it, much less how; a 45-year-old mother of six who winked at the other women as she said, “I just slipped and fell, doctor.” All of the women were suffering from effects of illegal abortion, not the abortions themselves. The doctor or midwife or neighbor who helped the women abort was also guilty of murder.
A film has been showing around the country called “The Silver Scream.” I saw parts of it on television and frankly, it reminded me of those SUNN movie productions, popular in the late 70s. You know, the ones that try to prove there were space ships in King Tut’s time, and Jesus and Buddha were all aliens-abominable snowmen; well, this is an abominable snowjob. An ultrasound picture of a three-month fetus is magnified about 1000 times its real-size size, which is about the size of a little finger. It then shows what is purported to be a suction abortion, which works on the same principle as a vacuum cleaner. You are then told by the doctor who is, he says, an atheist and former abortionist, that what he shows you in this blurry ultrasound-wave blow-up is the mouth of a baby. Note: not fetus, baby. What I saw saw a series of vaguely connected horizontal lines that, when it was pointed out to me, yes, it did look like fetus, pardon – baby. Much like those blobby things in the sky over the Mojave desert looked like flying saucers. Oh yeah, this one’s kind of cigar-shaped, though. Anyway, this doctor tells us that the baby’s mouth is open in a silent scream of pain, and it’s squirming “…in pitiful attempt to get away,” in the words of the doctor. Well, fine, but it’s still the faintest of faint outlines of a human being, not a fully developed baby. It isn’t all filled in with brain cells, nerve endings, etc. It cannot breathe or take nutrition outside of the womb.
And, with our president’s blessing, that same president who wants to keep the government out of fixing children’s teeth or regulating pollution, wants the Government to stick its snotty pointed nose up women’s vaginas.
Maybe that’s why Reagan doesn’t want sex education in public schools.
Oh, but he loves those bombers and torchers of clinics where abortions are performed. They’re from the Army of God, they say. God told them to do it. They say they are protecting the civil rights of the “unborn babies,” in the same way that civil rights activists of 25 years ago broke the laws to protect the civil rights of Black people.
Civil rights activists never bombed churches or killed un-armed people.
The Ku Klux Klan did that.
The Klanners also claimed that they had a direct line from God.
I hope, my younger sisters, that you remember my past, because if you don’t, my past might be your future.