Four states have introduced bills intended to control women’s bodies in the last weeks. These politicians, mostly men, use language of morality and population statistics to hide their clear supremacist ideals, economic greed, and fear of losing control over others.
We are losing the fight over reproductive rights.
On May 7th Firestorm had the privilege of hosting the incredible Jenny Brown for a talk on reproductive rights and her new book, Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work. With little access to childcare, family leave, health care, and with insufficient male participation, U.S. women are conducting a spontaneous birth strike.
This important and timely discussion goes through the history of reproductive rights, why they are important, how we talk about reproductive rights, and how we can gain some traction in this battle.
Below is a light paraphrase of Jenny talking about the history of abortions and contraception in the United States.
"Following English common law abortion was legal in the founding of the United States as long as it was before the quickening, or when you can feel the fetus move, usually around 4 months.
"We had always understood that is was always religious objections or prudery that led abortion and birth control to be outlawed in 1873, but it turns out these were not the main reason given at the time. These conversations were peppered with fear over declining birth rates, men worried that women were avoided the duties and responsibility of married life, resulting in smaller families. They were worried that women were going to take up careers, and they worried that immigrants would have more children than “native born children.” Opposition to abortion was led by so-called “Regular Doctors” who hoped to drive out of business the “irregulars”, such as Midwives and what they called “Doctresses”; the “Medical Doctors” main competition."