I’m on the road at the moment, and up to my eyeballs in work and activities. However, as I’ve been catching glimpses of the news and chatting with friends and colleagues, it’s been impossible not to feel barraged by an inexplicable wave of state and federal legislation around the country, both attempted and successful, seeking to regulate various activities of women involving reproduction, health access, and child rearing. Invariably these regulatory measures are either restrictive or punitive.
I’m not going to go into more detail then that, because I frankly don’t think it matters. Whether you’re talking birth control, associated health care services, abortion services, or single motherhood, the core concept of the various regulatory attempts I’m referring to is to ultimately restrict the activities and options available to women, either directly or indirectly, financially, legally, and logistically.
This is inexcusable. If we, as a people, truly pride ourselves on freedom and self-determination, then intrusive regulation of issues affecting the private lives of women is insulting and degrading. We owe the women in our lives, across our nation, and throughout the world respect, and the acknowledgement that they’re capable of rational decision-making without the need for male mediation, be it medical, political, or bureaucratic, regarding issues of reproduction and health.
How we treat other people says a lot about who we are. Similarly, the quality of a society can be measured by the respect, dignity, and equality of thought and action accorded the women of that society. Without that, we are all of us diminished, left to play foolish roles written for us by frightened authors.