The story that sent me over the edge was about a pregnant 14-year-old sexual assault victim in Arizona who was denied an abortion last week in the wake of the Supreme Court decision handed down June 24. Her grandmother kept begging the receptionist at the shuttered women’s clinic to help her. “This was not her fault,” she said.
It brought to mind images from the slave plantations. A child raped, forced into a dangerous pregnancy and premature childbearing. A girl’s childhood stolen; her body plundered; her dreams destroyed.
And I knew she was just one of so very many like her.
I had spent the weekend avoiding news because it was all so upsetting. Then this information cluster bomb landed smack in the middle of the bunker I had carefully erected around my psyche.
I couldn’t hide any longer. None of us can.
Our elected officials have responded with rhetoric, not action.
“We stand against government control over our bodies,” said Gov. Jared Polis.
“This activist ruling … eviscerates (women’s) Constitutionally protected rights to freedom and equality,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
“We will never give up our fight to ensure that everyone in this country — regardless of where they live — has a right to make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenthood,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.
Sure, it’s a whole lot more than we got from Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, but face it, it still sounds like offering thoughts and prayers after a massacre.
It’s useless. The rhetoric does nothing for that little girl in Arizona.
For that we need action.
It’s time for some civil rights era courage, for some good trouble.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are calling for expanding the Supreme Court to restore sanity and respect for the powerful third branch of government.
Of the court’s legitimacy, Warren said, “They just took the last of it and set a torch to it.”
“There’s nothing sacrosanct about nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Abrams said.
You go, girls.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Charlie Crist are calling for the impeachment of justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on charges they perjured themselves during their confirmation hearings when they assured the Senate that they considered Roe v. Wade settled precedent. We all watched them lie under oath.
Impeach away, I say.
Several women members of Congress have proposed opening emergency clinics to perform abortions on federal lands. The Biden administration has blown off this idea.
How many more 14-year-old rape victims are we willing to sacrifice before this action no longer seems just a little bit weird and starts to look urgently necessary?
Some have suggested that private funding could support the creation of clinics on tribal lands to serve women in Arizona, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and other states. The Indian nations deserve our respect and deference, for sure, but many are in states that are openly hostile to women’s rights.
If we could raise the money and tribes could be persuaded to host such clinics, generations of native and non-native women could be helped.
Ordinary women — including those concerned about the welfare of their grandchildren and other young women — are stocking up on morning after pills and spreading the word that they are prepared to help. It’s a small step, but important.
Money is flowing to the Cobalt Fund, which is ramping up its fund-raising and outreach to provide resources for women who must travel great distances for abortion services. In the pre-Roe era, a network emerged to provide abortions to women despite bans. Cobalt is the modern-day equivalent. Write a check and spread the word on social media and other networks.
Internationally, Aid Access stands ready to provide online medical consultations and abortion medications by mail to American women abandoned by medical services in their own country. Let’s make sure every woman and girl knows how to find it online.
Finally, before you send one red cent to any candidates for Congress, demand they do something.
Like their jobs.
It’s not enough to just get elected and then whine about how hard it is to pass legislation. Restore the balance of power among the three branches of government by making Congress functional. Do whatever it takes. Ditch the filibuster and break the gridlock.
We’re dying here.
Trevor Noah wrote a poem for each of us to use to communicate directly with our representatives.
“Roses are red. Violets are blue. The people have voted, so how about doing your f—— jobs and passing laws to codify contraception, marriage equality and all the other rights the Supreme Court has basically threatened to take away. And so are you.”
Then tell them to find the guts to enact a law that protects women and little girls from forced childbearing.
We all have to stop cowering in our bunkers.
As Nancy Pelosi has said, “No one gives you power. You have to take it from them.”
Do it, Nancy. No excuses.
That child in Arizona and all the others like her deserve better from us.
Diane Carman is a Denver communications consultant.
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