A Word In Edgewise: Cherchez la Femme?


I’ve mentioned before that the political climate in the US is taking on an aura of woo-woo speculative fiction, a sort of Orwellian 1984-cum-The Handmaid’s Tale ambience.

I had that feeling learning that Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin had introduced a bill requiring proof that a woman’s miscarriage or spontaneous abortion occurred naturally–without intervention. Lacking that proof, she could face felony charges.

Printable words cannot adequately express my feelings on this piece of…legislation, but it does prompt this question: Why is a spate of such laws being proposed by GOP politicians? None of them are promoting legislation to address hunger, homelessness, or poverty, just one bill after another aimed at controlling women and limiting their reproductive options.

Franklin et al. are not suggesting sexual surveillance and codes of chastity for males not actively engaged in reproductive sex. How about a regulation for Viagra–stipulating it be prescribed only for married men, and only during their wives’ fertile days, requiring a humiliating monthly visit to their doctors? Or registering the DNA and genomes of all males reaching puberty so that future sexual predators can be immediately traced and punished?

Police and mystery novel detectives always ponder the same key question: Who stands to profit? The same things might well be asked about these perfervid lawmakers so intent upon the regulation of women’s bodies. Seeking votes? Seeking the first scapegoat on the path to a theocracy?

Why do I find these men and their propositions so repellant? The answer is twofold: First, because women should not be singled out for harassment and physical control by predominately male politicians, and second, because, as part of a group these same men want to disenfranchise or eradicate, I am unable to forget the warning of Pastor Martin Niemöller. He varied his objects over time– but never the final line.

“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist; then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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