A lot of really terrible shit in the news these days, so how about I start with a joke?
A guy walks into a bar, the bartender says, “What can I get ya?”
Guy says, “The 1965 Supreme court case Griswold v. Connecticut was wrongly decided.”
Bartender says, “The case that ruled that people have a right to use contraception?”
Guy, “That’s the one!”
Bartender, “What are you, some kind of radicalized extremist?”
Guy, “Yes, and I’m one of three radicalized extremists running for the Republican nomination for Attorney General in Michigan.”
Look, I never said it was going to be a FUNNY joke.
And I wish I could just write off these three Republicans who ALL believe that there is no legal right to contraception as jokes, but it’s actually deadly serious.
Saying “I told you so” doesn’t feel great in this instance, but I have been saying for years, decades actually, that the religious right agenda was never going to stop with LGBTQ+ people. That these right-wing, radicalized extremists would come after birth control eventually. And it goes without saying that the anti-LGBTQ+ agenda is carbon copied from the anti-abortion agenda. So none of this should be a surprise.
Granted, the three Republicans claim that their problem isn’t so much with birth control; it’s that the ruling infringed on “states’ rights.” Meaning that states should have the right to ban birth control if they damn well please. But if you consider that arguments against marriage equality and interracial marriage and arguments in favor of segregation and slavery also claimed to be about “states’ rights,” well you can see how that’s not really reassuring coming from someone running to be Michigan’s chief law enforcement officer.
Part of the problem is Republicans have swung so far to the right that stuff like this doesn’t get roundly condemned. It becomes the party line.
And it didn’t just come out of nowhere. Republicans have been building up to this level of extreme for decades, starting most acutely with President Ronald Reagan’s embrace of the Christian right in the ’80s. But to people who don’t really follow politics closely — which, let’s be honest, is the majority of Americans — this kind of extremism looks like it’s an outlier. But it isn’t.
Just look at all of the extreme abortion bans Republicans are rolling out across the country. They’re in a mad frenzy to see who can be the most anti-choice. Texas, Florida, Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri (which as of this writing has a bill under consideration that would even ban abortions in the case of ectopic pregnancies which is not a viable pregnancy and will kill a pregnant person if they’re forced to just let God sort it out. Oh, and they also want to stop Missourians from leaving the state to get an abortion). These are just some of the states that have passed laws seeking a complete ban on abortion or have bills pending to do just that.
For now, Roe v. Wade still exists, so they can’t ban abortion outright. But they can pass bills that make it nearly impossible to find abortion services that are essentially banned. It’s kind of like if you wanted to ban chewing gum but weren’t allowed to ban it outright, so you decide that gum can only be purchased by someone 18 years and older, can only be paid for in cash, can only be sold between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on every third Monday, and in order to retrieve your purchase you had to reach your arm into a bear trap. Probably a lot less gum chewing is going to be happening in your neck of the woods.
Except abortion isn’t gum — it’s healthcare. Essential healthcare that politicians have no business getting in the middle of. Pregnant people have died and will continue to die wherever and whenever abortion isn’t an option. And the “pro-life” party has no problem with that.
It all feels like a bad dream. For many of us our mothers and grandmothers already fought this battle. Unfortunately, while they won the right to an abortion via Roe v. Wade, they did not win the battle against sexism and misogyny in the United States. Think about it. We hate women so much in this country that we elected Donald Trump. Also we’re really racist and have really unhealthy ideas about wealth in this country. Just an all around horror show.
One thing you can do? Vote for people who aren’t hateful idiots. And until hateful idiots aren’t the ones running their party, don’t vote for Republicans. And, yeah, that could be a very long while.