How to avoid saying “women”

The ACLU is still at it (aka “doubling down”).

We? Who’s we? Who are “all of us”?

They mean women, of course, but they’re hell bent on not saying so. It’s Chase Strangio’s world now, and the only women who matter are men.

The linked article uses the word once. One single time. I suppose the word appears that one time so that women like me won’t be able to say never. But the grotesquely sanitized language remains. It’s written by Paige Alexandria and was apparently carefully scoured by an ACLU editor, or perhaps Strangio herself.

The U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately overturn the law in June 2016, just months after I had my abortion, bringing relief to Texans seeking basic health care.

This month, Texans like me hoped our rights might be protected by the Supreme Court again. Instead, they let us down by allowing the most restrictive abortion law in the country to take effect. Now, in my work with a fund supporting Texans’ access to abortion, I’m hearing every day from panicked, confused patients who are trying to get an appointment as I did in 2016, and facing wait times as long as a month — too late for many to access care under SB 8. I’ve been reminding some patients to do what I did: keep calling each day to see if any cancellations open up earlier appointments.

Emphasis added to highlight all the places where “women” would be more normal. They’re Texans, they’re patients, they’re many, but by god they’re not women, because who knows how many of them identify as men??? It could be all of them!

SB 8 bans abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy — before many people even know they’re pregnant; roughly 85 to 90 percent of people who get abortions are at least six weeks into pregnancy….

This law is cruel, and it’s violating.

You know what else is cruel and violating? Removing all mention of women from discussions of their own rights and needs.

I’ve been hearing from many people with housing insecurity who are struggling to quickly figure out how to travel hundreds of miles out of state to access abortion care. And it was already difficult to access abortion as a Texan, especially for people with low incomes, Black women, Indigenous folks, people of color, undocumented folks, our queer and trans communities, disabled people, and youth.

There it is, that’s the one place where the word “women” appears – only to be swiftly choked by a torrent of people and folks and people and youth and communities.

SB 8 is racist, classist, and ableist, and these communities are the first to experience the impacts of abortion restrictions. Some folks living in Southern Texas have no way to even leave the state because of border patrol checkpoints. Getting abortion care is hard for everyone in Texas, but now it can be outright impossible, and will continue to be hardest for these Texans.

But of course getting abortion care isn’t hard for everyone in Texas, because it’s not everyone who needs it, it’s only women who do. But women can’t be mentioned. The word “women” is an obscenity.

While this assault on our rights would be terrible at any time, it’s especially dangerous during a pandemic. Texans were already forced to jump through these political hoops last year when our governor deemed abortion non-essential and banned it for over a month at the beginning of COVID-19. Patients were turned away from the clinic at the last second and forced to travel as far as Oklahoma and Colorado, much like now. At a time when Gov. Abbott should be protecting Texans, he is more concerned with regulating our bodies and putting our health and lives at risk — again…

Though things may feel isolating and scary right now, I want Texans to remember that abortion is still legal in all 50 states… We are here to help you sort through the confusion and get the resources you need.

…Everything I am as a person now is because I had an abortion. It allowed me to be the parent I wanted to be, led me to a career I love, and it was the first time I really understood what it meant to be a supporter of abortion rights. We may have a right to a legal abortion, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible. Under SB 8, that’s more true than ever, but we are going to continue to fight for our right to safe and legal abortion, regardless of our zip code, and regardless of how much money we make, no matter what.

And who is this “we”? Why, people who need abortion, of course!

7 Responses to “How to avoid saying “women””

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting