For most of my life I identified as an Evangelical Christian who fell in lockstep with the Pro-Life movement. I listened to the rhetoric on the sanctity of life, nodded my head at the vilification of abortion providers and, while uncomfortable with the tactics, supported the picketing of clinics or “sidewalk counseling” being done in an effort to “save the babies.”
But always in the back of my mind were those caught in the situation where a choice to terminate their pregnancy was necessary. People being harassed by protesters during a vulnerable time in their lives. Who was I to judge how they came to be pregnant or to push them into keeping the baby? And with all the momentum focused on keeping the fetus in the womb until delivery, what consideration was given to the mother? Was the child being brought into a stable life if the mother was coerced into finishing the pregnancy? Who would pay the medical bills?
I am no longer bound by Christian beliefs, their ancient scripture, or church tradition. As a Witch, I do hold life as sacred but I am no longer compelled to agree with the anti-choice camp in their agenda. And what these years outside a patriarchal religion have taught me is their argument is not so much about the “sanctity of life” because if it were they would fight just as hard for people facing death in our prisons.
No, this desperate campaign to abolish abortion is about bringing all who possess a womb under control.
Christianity teaches that women are (in effect) responsible for “sin” based on the creation story found in Genesis 2 & 3. In the story, God created man and then woman from man’s rib, thereby putting man in authority over woman. Woman was the one who, after being tempted by the serpent, chose to flout God’s command and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge and then influencing man to do the same. As a result, sin brought death and destruction into the world, man and woman were cast out of the idyllic garden, man would have to toil in hard labor for the rest of his days, and woman would experience great pain in childbirth as punishment for bringing suffering into the world.
Man failed to bring woman under submission in the garden. His descendants have been doing their best to rectify the situation through religion and law ever since.
Controlling women through limiting reproductive choice is not new. And what seems to be a recent push toward stricter abortion laws is, in fact, part of a forty-six year strategy by Christian organizations such as Right to Life and Operation Rescue to abolish abortion and deny anyone with a womb the right to claim autonomy over their own bodies. Don’t believe me? Watch the documentary film Reversing Roe.
According to an article from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, 400 state laws restricting abortion have been passed since 2010. And you better believe the most recent laws passed in Texas and Alabama are the latest salvo in an attempt to get a case before the Supreme Court which has been stacked by the current administration as an attempt to overthrow Roe v Wade.
To reverse Roe means that abortion rights would be determined by the states.
At this time, there are multiple states where people have no access to abortion services because clinics have been closed due to restrictive laws or the efforts of anti-choice groups. If Roe is reversed the number of states severely restricting or abolishing abortion will increase. In fact, 10 states (including Michigan, where I live) are poised to make it nearly impossible for a woman to terminate her pregnancy and could turn people into criminals should they seek an abortion in another state.In my opinion, this push to reverse Roe is nothing short of an attempt to force society to adapt to Christian doctrine. Anti-choice leaders are excited, saying they’ve never been closer to abolishing abortion due to recent additions to the Supreme Court.
Let’s be not be naïve. Once abortion rights are curtailed, the LGBTQ+ community will be targeted with a reversal of marriage equality. Transgendered individuals are already under attack with states allowing doctors to deny medical service for “religious” reasons. They are being excluded from military service and let’s not forget the “bathroom” laws. Then there is the travesty still happening on our borders with immigrant families whose children have been victimized.
“Let’s make America Great Again” has a sinister ring when fomented by a motivated, authoritarian Religious Right determined to push forward their theocratic agenda regardless of who they have to elect to get their ideal society.
Cyndi Brannen from Keeping Her Keys writes “All human life is sacred. This is not to be debated. However, the mother holds the power of creation and destruction. It is up to her to decide her own future and that of her children. If you think for one second that these politicians care at all about women and children, you are 100% wrong. Controlling women, and other marginalized groups, has always been the campaign of a certain class of men in power.”
All people with a womb, however they self-identify, are affected by this alarming political situation.
We have come to the point where we cannot remain silent. Reproductive rights will not be protected in the current political climate as it stands. We must make our voices heard. We must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, as those who came before us did. We must exercise our right to vote and support candidates who honor a person’s right to govern their healthcare while providing resources and access to all.
Witches and magickal practitioners are coming together to perform a spell in support of reproductive freedom and women’s rights. You can follow Cyndi’s spell or join a magickal resistance group on Facebook in their magickal working, perform the Hands Off Laws Off: Hekate Invocation for Reproductive Rights, or create your own spell.
Many people are looking at what is happening and comparing it to the novel (and the TV show which it inspired) The Handmaid’s Tale. If you’ve not read the book then I recommend you pick up a copy and educate yourself. In the story, the United States becomes a theocratic society known as “Gilead.” Published in 1985, the story is a cautionary tale giving readers a glimpse of what happens when individual rights are chipped away by people not unlike those who support the current administration.
Women’s rights. Minorities rights. LGBTQ+ rights. Freedom of Religion and the public expression thereof. We tend to believe nothing like what is depicted in a dystopian novel such as The Handmaid’s Tale could happen in real life. But when Alabama adopts a law which could subject doctors to a prison sentence of up to 99 years, I have to wonder if we are not so far away from Gilead after all.