Woman passing quickly by a now-empty store, with jet stream hair and RISE behind her.

You are not free.

I don’t want to just get through this.

This is an opportunity to step off the inertial way of things, and build the world we actually want to live in.

For me that is a society whose systems, governance and norms support the widest range of bodylives, not just one take on the life of a male-born-and-self-identifying-as-male. This isn’t about men vs women. What I want is a world that is based on the reality of being human, varied, complex —because we all are— and in it together, regardless. Regardless of what you thought or were taught is how it should be. I wish it was easier too. But mostly, I wish it was reality-based, honest, sincerely respectful and kind.

More than half the world lives a different bodylife than the standard-male bodylife on which we base our norms. One in four women have had, and will have, an abortion. This statistic has been around for a while. Abortion is normal. For bodies that can get pregnant, managing the number of pregnancies, the timing and the circumstances of pregnancy are a normal part of their life. If it’s not your body, it’s not your place to decide what, how or when. Ever.

Mid-year status report on freedom

State legislatures across the South, Midwest and the Plains enacted 58 abortion restrictions, 26 of which would ban all, most or some abortions. This surge in abortion bans is a distinct departure from the strategy deployed by abortion opponents for decades, which was to adopt incremental abortion restrictions with the cumulative impact of denying care to patients and forcing clinics to close. This approach had led to passage of laws that were less likely to be challenged in the courts than outright bans.

The much more radical strategy of enacting abortion bans hinges on the hope that these bans will be the subject of court cases that will give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to undermine or overturn long-standing constitutional protections for abortion. However, both strategies have the same goal—making abortion impossible to both provide and obtain.

Elizabeth Nash, Lizamarie Mohammed, Olivia Cappello, Sophia Naide, Zohra Ansari-Thomas, State Policy Trends at Mid-Year 2019: States Race to Ban or Protect Abortion, July 2019.

Maybe you’re like me and you’re just beginning to understand the significance of these maneuvers, or your role here. We cannot let this happen. Safe and unrestricted access to abortion is a human right. It’s a matter of privacy, liberty and equality.

This is about you.

When it comes to personal freedom, we either all have it or we don’t. Everyone has control over their bodylife, or no one does—because it’s not freedom then, it’s the privileged space you were lucky enough to find yourself in within a larger, controlled space. Maybe you’re the controller—for now. Still, then you’re bound by the mandate to dominate and control the others. You just aren’t free. Not if everyone is not free.

Looking forward to hearing what you think!

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