10 Editor's Pick
May 20, 2019

Isn’t it Time for Old White Men to Lay Off my Vagina?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on

If you’re someone who follows the news, this week should feel like an assault on womanhood and personal autonomy.

In case you missed it, on Wednesday, Alabama’s governor (a woman herself) signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act—one of the most restrictive abortion ban bills ever introduced. This law seeks to prohibit abortions at every stage of pregnancy and does not allow exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

This law was passed by 25 white men who have never experienced an unwanted pregnancy for themselves—or any pregnancy, for that matter—yet, I’d bet, have caused several.

Even crazy-ass televangelist Pat Robertson made a statement that the bill “goes too far.” That should tell you something.

Yet it passed the Alabama state legislature and was signed into law. Oh, Alabama. Sigh. (Side note here, Alabama was recently ranked 50th out of 50 states for public education and 46th out of 50 for its healthcare by U.S. News & World Report.)

Now, before you get all fired up and start making moral judgments about me as a person, know this: I am “pro-choice,” but that does not always compute into “pro-abortion.” Rather, I respect the right of a woman to choose what is right for her own body in her own, very personal and private situation. I am also pro-education and pro-contraception, as both of these tools are scientifically proven and highly effective for reducing unwanted pregnancy and abortion.

I also can say I have not had to face the difficult choice of whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy for myself—and I am grateful for this every day. I can only imagine the emotional turmoil surrounding such a difficult decision—turmoil that likely continues long after the decision is made.

I do not put myself on a pedestal because I have dodged this bullet.

Instead, I recognize all the privilege I had surrounding my sexual health during my formative years. To begin with, I was not a victim of rape or incest. Furthermore, I was raised by two college-educated parents who were not afraid to teach me about my body, including the gifts and potential consequences therein. I had access to healthcare, and when I was too embarrassed to ask for help from my mom, I was able to get birth control and other forms of contraception from Planned Parenthood on a sliding scale.

All of these things saved me from having to make an excruciating decision about what to do in the event of an unplanned, unwelcome pregnancy. My entire life trajectory would be much different if I lacked access to any of these components during my years as a young woman.

Here is the kicker: I am lucky. I am blessed. I have inherent privilege on many levels simply for having been born in the right place at the right time to the right people. I had access to things many young women simply don’t.

But Alabama doesn’t care about that.

Alabama—or, more specifically, the white men serving in its legislature—would like its poorly educated women, many of whom lack access to healthcare or contraception, to start pumping out babies to give glory to God.

So, let’s talk about those babies, those sweet-smelling, innocent, adorable babies—because if Alabama has its way, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

What happens to those babies when they are born to a 12-year-old, with no means to support herself or a family? What happens to those babies when they are born drug addicted? What happens to those babies when they are born to a woman living on the streets or stuck in domestic violence? What happens to those babies when they are born as the sixth or seventh child to a single mom working a minimum wage job?

What sort of protection do “God’s children” receive then? Because I’ve been paying attention long enough to know that these holier-than-thou white Alabamian men, who claim to speak for God, who have likely faced little to no adversity in their own lives, give zero sh*ts about the actual human product after it leaves the womb.

So, you know what, Alabama? Until you want to fund public education, healthcare, drug treatment, childcare, job placement programs, and nutrition assistance (that is, until you care enough to nurture and sustain the human lives you are purportedly “protecting”), keep your damn hands off my uterus.

author: Roslyn Shipp

Image: Elephant Journal on Instagram

Editor: Kelsey Michal

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

commercial May 30, 2019 3:33am

What an hysterical article that doesn’t help one bit to bring this abortion issue discussion to where it should be, somewhere in the middle. Even your arch enemy, the President of the United States of America agrees with you that the Alabama law is too aggressive, but until the crazy harpies of the third wave feminism would not stop advocating for third term abortions, the pendulum will swing all the way to the right.

But the most idiotic response from activists and news media this week to Alabama’s recently passed fetal heartbeat bill has been to underscore that it was approved by male lawmakers. And not just any male lawmakers, but ones who are white, as if that somehow has something to do with the issue.
The bill was voted for by women, too, in the state House. It was introduced by a pro-life woman, Republican Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins, and then signed into law by a female governor, Kay Ivey. The law also has the support of Alabama state Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan, also a woman.

What about Roe v. Wade? For those who do not know it, Roe was decided 7-2 by a Supreme Court made up entirely of men.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Harry Blackmun, a white man. He was joined by five other white men on the court, including Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justices William Douglas, William Brennan, Potter Stewart, and Lewis Powell. The only minority justice at the time, Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African American to sit on the court, also joined the majority opinion that has since resulted in the abortion of approximately 19 million black children.

Susan Kilgore May 29, 2019 5:48pm

I am an Alabamian. I am a follower of Christ. I had an abortion in 1997.

I have never felt grief like that since. Nor guilt. I paid the price for my “sin”: I was never able to have children after the abortion. Children I never tried to prevent with birth-control.

Our politicians’ voting for this ban which essentially revokes a woman’s reproductive rights is repugnant. It is embarrassing and infuriating. There’s no doubt big money is involved, and this degree of corruption and ignorance is absolutely frightening.

Yes, the old white men and our FEMALE governor need to lay off your vagina and forget about overturning Roe vs. Wade while focusing on the many other “lofty” endeavors you mention in your article.

Neil Bertram May 29, 2019 11:49am

The hypocrisy of so many self-serving conservative legislatures needs to be challenged. It’s about so much more than abortion. It is time for old white men to lay off a lot things. Your vagina is one of them.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Roslyn Shipp

Roslyn Shipp is a wife, mother, writer, and 911 dispatcher. She is originally from Roslyn, Washington and now resides in Bonney Lake with her paramedic/firefighter husband and two daughters.