January 23, 2012
This post is by Aphra Behn of Guerilla Girls On Tour!
While on tour this year, I felt an uncomfortable cramping near my crotch. It was somewhere between Arkansas and Oklahoma that I realized what it was. The government was tightening its grip on my uterus.
In Kansas, my uterus signed up for a sex education class but the only subject taught was abstinence. In West Virginia, my uterus got tired of abstinence and got a prescription for birth control, but my health insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. As a result, by Texas my uterus was pregnant and sought pre-natal care, but there wasn’t any because state legislators decimated Planned Parenthood’s funds.
Conservatives proclaim to detest government interference in one’s life. Republicans make careers out of repealing regulations. Yet, both groups seem obsessed with restricting what goes on inside my uterus. It got so bad this year that at one point, I think Congress believed that controlling my uterus would create more jobs.
Now, my uterus may not see ovary to ovary with other uteruses across the land. But no matter where we reside, we are all American uteri and as such are guaranteed a fundamental human right, the right to privacy. But without much outcry, my uterine rights are shriveling away.
In the first half of last year, 80 abortion restrictions were enacted in male-dominated legislatures across my country, more than tripling the 23 enacted in 2010. The last half of the year was gloomier yet, marked by Mississippi voters pondering an initiative that would have declared a fertilized egg a legal person and Health and Human Services Secretary Katheleen Sebelius overruling the FDA’s decision to make Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter for all women.
In Missouri and eight other states, my uterus is required to receive counseling in person before waiting 24 hours for an abortion, necessitating two separate trips to any clinic. In Georgia and ten other states, my body must receive verbal information about the ability of a fetus to feel pain. In North Carolina and four other states, it has to be given written materials that show medically inaccurate connections between abortion and infertility and between abortion and the possibility of developing breast cancer.