Thursday, March 23, 2023

Slippery Slope to Repression

Washington, DC – I am a woman way past the age of pregnancy. The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade deprived me of the right to privacy in my medical decisions as well. That ruling deprived a woman, any woman, of the right to privacy in her medical choices. Men continue to have their medical choices private. Women do not.

In the past few weeks, reporting has presented several incidences where that decision has opened avenues for further repression of a woman’s privacy. High school female athletes’ period records have been requested for the peculiar purpose of uncovering apparently clandestine trans males from sports. While there has been much bemoaning of the purported crisis for males in this society, studies reveal that young women are killing themselves at a much higher rate than young males. Young women are being raped or coerced into sex, leading to high rates of depression and hopelessness.

The apps that many women use to track their periods are being open to subpoena for the sole purpose of finding out if there was a possibility of an interrupted pregnancy.

Women’s rights, as always, are under assault. The decision on the abortion issue has demoted women as citizens to a position inferior to men. The workplace situation continues to impact women’s careers negatively. The pandemic created a childcare crisis that forced many women to leave their jobs and lose seniority and other benefits, including medical, at a time when those benefits were most needed. That crisis continues partially because of the poor pay and benefits accompanying the very difficult job of caring for children.

The pandemic further created an epidemic of spousal and child abuse in homes. Women continually find themselves in perilous situations where the choice is to leave and face displacement and poverty for themselves and their children or stay and risk violence and possible death.

There are no easy answers, but the current efforts in states nationwide to limit women’s control over their bodies are reminiscent of historical instances of increasing repression.

The effort to control books in schools and public libraries; the current war against advanced placement courses in Florida; the banning of prescribed medicines because someone might possibly use them to end or prevent pregnancy all point to an increasing tendency to impose specific religious visions on an entire country. We vilify Iran or the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as we watch Israel slide down the same path we are on.
Democracy requires the consent of the governed. When a minority viewpoint overwhelms that of the many, then we are no longer a democracy. When male rights are greater than female rights, we no longer have a democracy. The Supreme Court has six Roman Catholics, five of which represent the most reactionary Catholic positions. They are setting the groundwork for what some wish to create, a White “Christian system. Should such an eventuality arise, it would be interesting to watch the sundry “Christians” fight it out over which set of rules should apply.

Europe learned over centuries that religious violence is dark and bloody. The Constitution specifically forbids an established religion because back in the 18th century, the memory of the carnage was still fresh. Watching the Hindus kill Muslims and beat priests and burn churches, the Israelis kill Muslims, the Buddhists kill Muslims, Sunnis kill Shias, or whoever is killing whomever because of religion today should be a chilling reminder of what can happen here if we allow ourselves to go down that path.

There is no end once we start singling out one group, religion, or gender.

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M.A. Callahan
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