When my mother went to law school, she was one of only a few. She graduated near the top of her class (forgive me but I've never been able to remember the Latin descriptive) and got some pretty high-powered interviews. One was with Major, National, Firm & How. She was told that if they hired her, "the secretaries would get angry." Yes, that's right. This was some 20 years after Sandra Day O'Connor graduated Stanford Law. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Today apparently a majority of law students are women. I hold out hope in this. For one thing, this might make issues that women find important part of the "important shit."
On the bawdy boys' site (now with a neo-military look), Armando stands up as one who "gets it":
From the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 5-4. O'Connor in the majority upholding Roe. That's why this is hugely important.
That's why the Supreme Court of the United States is Extraordinary.
Of course, he felt compelled to add that there are other things that are important, too (because we don't want women thinking that their shit is part of the "important shit," now do we?), but he stood up and made his point. At least he had front-page privileges, because the rest of the posts seemed to be well-intentioned, but perhaps a bit blind to the dire circumstances that women are facing with an anti-Roe court. For example, DavidNYC offers call-to-action links that conspicuously omit any reproductive rights sites, or even NOW. Helpful, but perhaps missing the heart of the matter.
Then of course, there were the distractions like Kos' being praised by the MSM (and we needed a plug for that) or Maryscott O'Connor's joke post that for a while was the hottest thread, mostly with joke comments ... and joke diaries. (What a day for joking! But then we feminists aren't supposed to have a sense of humor, are we?)
I don't mean to pick on the DailyKos crowd, but given the recent "huff" he and his defenders got into over women having opinions of which he did not approve, they've almost become the epitome of the barriers women face in the progressive and liberal ranks of the political landscape.
Echidne says it best:
Without birth control and the right to abortion there can be no real gender equality. It's as simple as that. If our fertility is controlled by the government we will ultimately bear children when that government wishes and we will not bear children when that government wishes. Having children changes our lives, more for women than for men, perhaps, but our lives are changed nevertheless, and sometimes these changes are damaging and physically and mentally costly. There can be no real freedom for women to walk down the road at dusk if such a walk could result in a rape which cannot be proven to the satisfaction of the government and if the rape then results in a pregnancy. Giving birth to a child can be dangerous. Bringing up a child in this world is demanding. To have someone else decide when and if you do these things is devastating.
The pro-life answer to these worries consists of abstinence. Women can always say no, we can always cross our legs. But this ultimately means saying no to walks at dusk, perhaps saying no to the new job, interesting but too demanding, or having someone else say no to that job for you because women will just have babies and thus cannot be trusted. And note how the idea of women saying no is one-sided, how the responsibility for abstinence is put on the shoulders of women alone. As if women today were scouring the streets in the search for reluctant men to have sex with. And it doesn't solve the rape dilemma: what if I am raped, get pregnant, and can't prove the rape? What if I'm not raped but had sex because, well, because human beings do want to have sex, and I get pregnant but already have six children and can't feed them? What if I have psychological problems and being pregnant makes me see razor blades for my wrists everywhere?
Abstinence doesn't work. Sex is like food, and people will have sex whatever the punishments we pile on such behavior. The pro-lifers want the punishment to be giving birth or dying from a botched up abortion. This is what sometimes goes for pro-life.
A world without reproductive choice is not a good one for women. Be careful, be more careful than ever, and yet your uterus might be used against your own wishes. Your life doesn't belong to you, never mind about your body. Your fertility belongs to the politicians who decide if you should breed (yes, if you are white, perhaps no, if you are not).
A world without reproductive choice is not a good one for men, either. However careful you are, you might become a father or at least someone who pays child maintenance for the next two decades. And you will have to worry about your daughters, your sisters, your wife, your girlfriend.
No, there can be no real equality without reproductive choice. It's as simple as that for me.
That is why this is not negotiable. That is why reproductive rights are an essential part of a just society, and claims that it's merely a matter of "privacy" and not part of the "important shit" are made of the stuff to which they supposedly aspire ... total and utter crap.
Fortunately there are people like Booman, who reassure me that we are not lost in the frame of the self-important patriarchy:
Women have only recently escaped from the arranged marriage, they have only recently gained the right to refuse sexual relations with their husbands. It is only in the last few decades that we have lived in a society where we could even begin to hold a woman responsible for getting pregnant. And, unfortunately, there are still a lot of situations where women get pregnant through no fault of their own.
Every day, girls are raped or molested by their fathers, their uncles, their brothers, their priests, their teachers, and so on.
Every day, women discover that something is terribly wrong with their pregnancy, and their baby is going to be born with a variety of difficulties.
For me, the bottom line is that women can only be equal citizens when they have power over their reproduction. That means that women must be free to marry whom they want, at an age they want, and they must be allowed to use contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and they must be allowed to terminate a pregnancy that is problematic, or unwanted.
It's ridiculous to think that every pregnancy is a conscious and willing choice. I think it is wrong to use abortion as a form of contraception, provided there are other forms of contraception available. But the real issue is: who the hell is the government to interject themselves into the personal, and often excruciatingly painful, matter of woman's reproductive rights?
If the government is going to overreach it's constitutional mandate, it should stick to doing it to protect people's civil rights, not to trample them.
Ultimately this issue is not about abortion, it's about the government's power to control our bodies. And that, like it or not, is all wrapped up in gender. Call it "women's issues," call it "abortion rights," but one thing that reproductive rights are at the core of, and that's women's equality.
Either we believe in it, or we don't. Yes, some things are that simple.