Art and life aren’t just imitating each other, they’ve officially meshed as Republicans in Georgia, Alabama and Ohio are trying their best to make “The Handmaid’s Tale” a reality show.
The Hulu series portrays a futuristic world in which women are stripped of their power, dignity, sexuality, individuality and, most importantly, the right to decide what they can do with their bodies. With the recent moves in the South, that world is alarmingly closer to reality than one might think.
Last week, Georgia’s Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, signed the “heartbeat bill” into law. HB 481 is the ultimate middle finger to women as it outlaws abortions of any kind after six weeks.
The privilege of white Republican men has reached an all-time high as they’ve decided that they alone should be the ones to dictate and legislate what is legal when it comes to the bodies of women, as if they have experience with the childbearing process.
Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks, but according to HB 481, that unborn child is a “living, distinct person” that deserves “full legal recognition.”
This now means that all illegal abortions in Georgia are viewed as murder, and those involved are subject to life in prison. Miscarriages could also be viewed as second-degree murder, and any woman who leaves the state for an abortion, and anybody that helps her do it, could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Horrifying for sure. But wait, there’s more.
Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa and North Dakota all have agendas similar to Georgia, Ohio and Alabama. And on Thursday morning, news broke that the Missouri had passed a bill that bans abortions after eight weeks, with medical reasons being the only exceptions.
So for all of you thinking this was just a “Southern” issue, it’s not.
This is America.
Don’t agree? Try this.
This year alone, more than 12 states have either passed or tried to pass stricter abortion laws. That means that at least a quarter of the country has tried to strip women’s rights away before we’ve hit the halfway mark of the year.
In Ohio, Republicans have put up a bill that would stop insurance companies from covering abortions and different forms of birth control.
And in Alabama, two days after Mother’s Day, the state Senate approved a bill that essentially outlaws abortion and makes doctors who perform them felons, where they could face anywhere from 10 to 99 years in prison. The only exceptions are “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.” Democrats in Alabama re-introduced an amendment to add rape and incest victims to the list of exceptions, but their motion failed by a 11-21 vote.
Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God. https://t.co/DwKJyAjSs8
“Life is a gift of our creator, and we must do everything that we can to protect life,” said Republican State Senator Clyde Chambliss.
Only in America can unborn fetuses have more protection than actual black and brown lives.
“I think we raped women last night,” said Democratic Alabama State Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton recently on CNN. “We made women of Alabama the model of the new Roe v. Wade. I think that this is just a horrible bill.”
“I hate to think the fact that if someone would rape my daughter at 12 years old … that is just sad to tell my daughter that she had to carry that baby for nine months here in the state of Alabama and look that rapist in the face for the rest of her life,” Singleton continued. “I just couldn’t take it as a father, so I had to speak up for women all over the country, for the women in the state of Alabama, because this was just wrong.”
Singleton’s words aren’t just passionate and heartfelt, they also raise a great question.
Where’s the outrage from men?
Like it or not fellas, our silence plays a huge part in this.
Recently, I watched the HBO documentary “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal,” and as they highlighted how Larry Nassar was allowed to get away with doing vile and disgusting things to children for decades, the culture of silence kept catching my attention.
All of the people who had the power to stop Nassar remained silent because what he was doing didn’t necessarily affect them.
Well men, that’s the exact same situation we’re in right now.
Because no matter how much women protest, march, and hashtag, nothing will change unless we join the effort. And sorry Alyssa Milano, but your proposed sex strike won’t solve this.
If Stacey Abrams would have won her gubernatorial race in Georgia last year, you can bet that the “heartbeat bill” wouldn’t be a law. And while women like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are quietly putting together really good presidential campaigns, it feels like their gender is the sole reason why the majority of the attention is going to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
The women have done their part, but this is an issue that affects our society as a whole, including every gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion and sexual orientation.
Every minority group in America should be outraged and motivated by what’s going on, because if you don’t think that it can happen to your group, then you don’t know much about the history of America.
We stand at a moment in time in which future generations will look back and try to decipher who was to blame. So men, let’s not let our inaction be the reason why we were on the wrong side of history.