If you’re a woman and if your head is spinning following passage of the draconian abortion law in Alabama, rest assured that the dizzy disorientation you’re feeling is shared by women across the country. If you’re like me, you might find yourself waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with the terrifying sense that your worst nightmare has just crossed the threshold from dream to reality. If you’re like me, you might find that words fail to describe your sense of anger and despair.
Welcome, ladies, to the new reality of the all-out, unashamed assault on our bodies and our lives. This is the battle we hoped we’d never have to face. This is the battle that we should have known was baked into the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. This is the battle that we and our daughters will have to fight because every obstacle that every woman ever has overcome and every opportunity seized were born out of our ability to make our own choices about our reproductive lives. Make no mistake about this: Every aspect of women’s lives is now under threat.
And where, exactly, do our fellow citizens stand on women’s right to decide how, when, and with whom we choose to bear our children? According to the Pew Research Center, 58% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
When you break down those numbers into attitudes among Republicans and Democrats, the deep divide over abortion becomes even more stark. Here’s what the pollsters at Pew found:
“By a wide margin (59% to 36%), Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. In 1995, Republicans were evenly divided (49% legal vs. 48% illegal).
Views among Democrats have shifted in the other direction over the past two decades. Today, 76% of Democrats say abortion should be legal in at least most cases. In 1995, 64% favored legal abortion in all or most cases.”
Should we, as pro-choice women, take any solace at all from the fact that our views are shared by a majority of Americans? Sadly, the answer is no. We’re living through a time in which nothing in our civic and political life can be taken for granted. If nothing else, Donald Trump and his Republican enablers have demonstrated to us in no uncertain terms that majority opinion does not necessarily prevail. In fact, with every news cycle we are bombarded with the upside-down reality that the beliefs and opinions of the majority can easily be overwhelmed and squashed by the cunning, the dishonesty, and the manipulation of the minority.
Words may have failed me upon hearing the disturbing news out of Alabama. But words haven’t failed three clever comedy writers, Amber Ruffin, Jenny Hagel, and Ally Hord. They’ve found just the right words. Listen, laugh, and cry. And then shake off the nightmare and get ready to fight.