The current storm surrounding the battle for women's reproduction rights has led me to an epiphany of sorts. The entire notion that someone else can control any aspect of my life without my consent is absolutely nauseating to me. I appreciate the compromise that President Obama worked out. I appreciate the subtlety with which he "threaded the needle" and achieved the goal of free contraception coverage for all working women, no matter to whom their employers pray. But a large part of me seethes inside and thirsts to take on this fight with a bloodlust that left me wondering at its origins.
Then it came to me. A comment I'd read a week or so ago. A comment between two people discussing the issue of gay marriage in one of the New England states. These two wonderful men were discussing the fact that, while they appreciated any legislation to legalize same sex marriage, it really would be better if the judiciary settled the issue. Rights aren't something that should be "legalized." Rights exist in and of themselves, no matter what the State laws are.
I clicked "rec" on their comments and moved along, not really giving it the amount of thought that such a profound idea deserves. Their comments have stuck with me, however, and washed through me these past two weeks as we have gone from the Komen disaster to the contraception conundrum and now, to facing the latest Republican attempt to reframe all contraception as abortion. I get it now. My rights should not be a political football to be tossed around by people who don't get it.
To my LGBT friends I want to say, "I'm sorry." I'm sorry, because I have been presented with opportunities to push your cause, not just in a good direction by supporting legislation, but by pushing it in the correct direction and refusing to discuss it in those terms...and I neglected to do so. I'm sorry I didn't take the opportunity to educate others that someone else's rights are not yours to give or take with petty laws.
I get it now.
Like many women (Hell, like 98% of women!) I am getting a bit tetchy watching other people decide what I can do to my own body, particularly when those people don't even share the same body parts that I do. Each time I see some fat, old, white guy bloviate on these topics, I want to throw up or throw something, usually both. I start channeling Jules from Pulp Fiction and I want to rain down "furious anger" on their mother-fracking asses.
I'm usually a gentle soul. I taught Kindergarten for 13 years. Children and dogs love me!
So why the anger? Because I get it now. My rights to my own body exist outside the law...not at the pleasure of the law.
And that's why even though I am grateful to President Obama for the legislation to secure access to affordable and free contraception coverage for all employed women--even those employed by religious institutions--I am still angry. I am even proud of President Obama because, once again, he managed to accomplish the goal in sight and foil our adversaries and make them look like asshats at the same time. But I am still angry! This legislation is a concession that I and other women are being allowed access to birth control at all. It concedes our rights to the whims of the majority, something the Constitution was supposed to protect.
I am ready for this fight, because it is the right thing to do!
I get it now!