I don’t usually identify as a feminist. But these days our government makes it hard to continue to make that distinction. Simply being a woman makes me a feminist.
One of the first steps in liberating women in oppressed societies is to educate them on contraceptives and reproductive health. When she doesn’t have access to contraceptives, health care or sexual health education, she surrenders her dreams and aspirations to the will of her body and those she shares it with; she is enslaved.
Since contraceptives and abortions were made legal and accessible in the United States, women have significantly been able to reduce the number of children they bear, fewer women marry and those who do, marry later on in life. In correlation with that, more women pursue a higher education, earn higher incomes, maintain better health and participate in politics.
Women’s rights may seem a trite subject to harp on. But the news here is that the progress made for women’s equality is now in jeopardy.
The New York Times, The Nation, Ms. Magazine and The Huffington Post, to name just a few, have called it the “war on women” and even more report women’s rights are “under attack.” Melissa Harris-Perry of the Nation goes so far as to claim this is an attack led by social conservatives to push women out of the social sphere and back into the home.
That may seem extreme, but what else are we led to believe? Regardless of whether or not this is simply another political guise to bring abortion, i.e. the religious agenda, to the forefront of the conservative platform, as some pundits suggest, the fact that it continues to work is troubling. Abortion, and women’s rights, are a general crowd pleaser of a debate, when really this debate should be as obsolete as civil rights.
Attacking low-income women and their access to family planning and reproductive healthcare services does not create jobs. It certainly does not decrease the deficit since unplanned-for-children are more likely to cost money in childcare, welfare, education, and other federally-funded programs, and it does not benefit the future of America, for both mothers and their children.
In 2011, the War and the Attack on Women remains a sad reality in politics. Fortunately, organizing, protesting and voicing your opinion can be as simple as opening up your browser and finding events near you, like Gainesville’s recent Walk for Choice or signing petitions like Planned Parenthood’s petition to let Congress know you are not in support of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The Fine Print is dedicated more than ever to remain a resource for local events and issues, including women’s rights.