I have a new bumper sticker – Our Bodies, Our Votes. And a pink t-shirt that says Women are Watching. I plan on collecting more protest gear on Saturday at the national march against the War on Women. I’ll be at the one in Sacramento. I’m hoping to find a little something that speaks back to that radio creep, the one who will go unnamed. Maybe the poster that says Sluts Vote.
Some want the war on women to be over or declare it never really existed. What they want is for the stirred- up women warriors to go away. Not me. I don’t intend to stop writing and talking about it, even thought I’d rather be in a t-shirt that says Marriage for All or Respect Our Teachers. I’m tired of arguing about birth control and abortion. It’s so 40 years ago.
But the Men Rule guys started this rumble, the radio creep calling women sluts for wanting birth control, the head of the Republican national committee clumsily likening the war on women to a war on caterpillars, the Vatican pushing nuns around for not toeing the party line.
The war on women isn’t going to go away just because the ones who started the war want it over. They roused the wrong women who will continue to hang in there,stay vigilant, watch for snipers and anticipate the next body blow from the right.
The war continues. By those who would protect only certain women from domestic abuse. Who would force a woman impregnated during a rape to bear the child. The bullies continue their efforts to mandate unnecessary medical procedures on women as well as trying to deny life-saving ones. They are still trying to close clinics that provide birth control for uninsured and low income women. We can’t back down.
I picked up my Our Bodies, Our Votes bumper sticker from Judy Norsigian, executive director of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the advocacy organization for women and creator of that pivotal text on women’s health and sexuality published in 1972. Norsigian was in Santa Rosa, Ca. with an updated edition of the book. Amazing that 40 years ago educating women to take control of our bodies was considered a revolutionary concept. Then it became a given. And now in 2012 we’re having a preposterous fight to retain that same control.
There has been some good news, reproductive health-wise. Teenage births are at a record low, reportedly due to an increase in teenagers using both condoms and hormonal birth control methods. That means both partners are acting like responsible sexual creatures.
Contraception, of course, is the nemesis of the Catholic church, and part of its “constant obsession with gynecology,” said author Anna Quindlen. That is partially why Quindlen, a lifelong Catholic, decided to leave the church. “The Catholic hierarchy has been dis-inviting women like me from the party for years,” Quindlen told Terry Gross in an an interview this week. “And I finally took the hint,” she said.
Now the Catholic Church is going after its own nuns. The Vatican blasted the largest order of Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, for focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice, which one assumes most religious people are dedicated to, but keeping silent on same sex marriage and abortion. The Vatican wants those nuns reigned in for promoting “radical feminist” programs.
Radical feminists? I don’t know. I’d just call them sisters on the side of sisters. I’ll be looking for them in Sacramento.