Three years ago, I sat up most of the night in front of my computer, watching the debate on HB2, one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws, live-streamed from the floor of the Texas Legislature. That was the night of Wendy Davis's courageous filibuster, and although I had been unable to drive to Austin to be part of the Unruly Mob in person, I was glued to the proceedings. In between watching debate, tweeting out and Facebooking links, and talking to my fellow activists who were terrified that this bill would pass and essentially end access to abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare in Texas, I was silently thanking my high school debate coach for teaching me parliamentary procedure and how to "flow" debates. In the end, the Republican senators broke the chamber rules and voted the bill in just past midnight. Another special session would be called, and the bill would become law. It effectively closed the majority of abortion providers in Texas -- many of which also provided other vital healthcare.
Today, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down that law, citing two provisions -- that all abortion providers meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and that all abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles -- as placing an undue burden on those seeking abortion care.
There is a quite different argument against abortion I have heard from several Pagan women.I am more sympathetic to it than to the usual “fetus is human” claim that I demolished in my previous post.Even so, I think it ultimately fails, though it does complicate a woman’s decision.
One of the first things the new Republican majority has done in Congress is to escalate the battle against legal abortion.Republicans have long been seeking the world’s most restrictive lawon abortion. Today, in the midst of what most people would regard as far more pressing issues, Republican leadership is seeking to further restrict women’s access in ways that ultimately alienated even many Republican women members of Congress. The reasons for their fanaticism go deeper than the reasons anti-women’s rights groups give for opposing abortion.They go to the root of who they are.
Here in the Deep South, it's been a rough few months for women's health. The passage of a draconian anti-abortion law -- despite the courageous efforts of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and her allies -- has led to the closing of several women's health clinics, and will lead to the closing of many more. In Arkansas, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country was signed over the summer, banning the procedure in most instances later than 6 weeks. At no other time in American history since Roe v. Wade have women's reproductive rights been so under attack.
A large portion of the work I do as a Feminist Witch centers on securing social justice for women, including the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. I see my pro-choice politics as a logical extension of my spirituality. Part of what draws me to Feminist Craft is the idea of empowerment through ritual and magick, and my feminist politics hold that we can never be truly empowered until we have control over our fertility -- from having the ability to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, up to and including the ability to make our own choices about how, when and whether we will birth and raise children. Although I am committedly child-free, I am passionate about reproductive justice for all -- not just choice but justice in terms of access to resources that allow us to make choices.
As you probably know there has been a powerful and effective move on the part of the Republican party to restrict access to abortion and other reproductive health services at the state level since the 2010 elections. What drives this is a theological notion that amounts to the establishment a religion in violation of the 1st Amendment of the US constitution. Those who object to the imposition of restrictions on access to abortion should recognize that it is a theological battle. Come see why. . .
I have put a more complete argument for why I think Pagans should vote 100% democratic up on my personal blog. Here at Witches and Pagans I compress it only to the issue of women and the feminine. In reality that should be enough. My basic point is not that the Democrats are awesomely good. In almost every case they are not. It is that their opponents are awesomely bad, in every case.
The War on Women and the Feminine
Pagan spirituality in almost all its forms praises feminine values, usually in through a Goddess.The Republican Party has demonstrated over and over again that even during times of high unemployment, attacking anything that empowers women takes precedence over all other issues with the possible exception of increasing the wealth of the 1%.Most of my readers will know of the recent comments by Todd Akin that women when raped cannot get pregnant along with Richard Mourdock’s ‘insight’ that when they do get pregnant from rape, it’s God’s gift. (Theological coherence is not a right wing trait.)
The Republican and right wing attack on a woman’s right to choose whether to be a mother when she finds herself pregnant is of long standing.But this past year it has broadened enormously and ominously to assault anything that empowers women except as obedient servants to right wing values.