Written and Illustrated by Koriander Bullard
“Boy, these conservatives are really something aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn.
They will do anything for the unborn, but once you're born you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no daycare, no head start,
no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're pre-born you're fine. If you're preschool you're ****ed. Conservatives don't give a s**t about you until you reach military age. Then they think you are just fine. Just what they been looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. These people aren't pro-life they're killing doctors. What kind of pro-life is that? What they'll do anything they can to save a fetus, but if it grows up to be a doctor they just might have to kill it? They're not pro-life. You know what they are? They're anti-woman. Simple as it gets. Anti-woman They don't like them. They don't like women. They believe a woman's primary role is to function as a broodmare for the state.”
- George Carlin, from the HBO special “Back in Town” September 17, 1996
When you're growing up, you tend to take everything around you for granted, and boy, am I no exception to the rule.
I grew up in Chicago, a wonderfully diverse city with over nine million commuters each day, so naturally, I saw different kinds of people on every block, different cultures, religions and of course, people with different needs and life choices.
Before I was allowed into the society of adulthood, I was given a full education on reproductive bodies for men and women. What happens, what goes right, what goes wrong, and whatever question I had that my parents couldn't answer, would be answered by Planned Parenthood. We had more than one within driving distance, staffed with people ready and willing to provide the right answers or brochures I needed.
So imagine my surprise when I moved to Kentucky, and there was no such establishment around. In fact, the only two clinics within driving distance of my house are controlled by the local churches and are still providing outdated information.
As an example, a friend of mine (we'll call her Linda) was told by a doctor that it was perfectly “fine” that she was ill and nearly died during her latest pregnancy. As long as the baby makes it, that's fine, even if you die.
Even if you die? Ah HELLO?? If she dies, the fetus dies too. You actually need the carrier to remain alive in order for the slushy experiment in the womb to become an actual baby!
But this is the type of “care” typical for Kentucky clinics these days. They are not required to provide more care than has been allowed by the state, and they turn their noses up at anything beyond their “religion” despite the fact that this country thrives off of the separation of church and state.
And in order to get to the clinic, you have to drive past the scientifically unsound depictions of fetuses, as played by one and two year old children, being tortured and bloodied beneath misquoted text from the Bible, scroll-work posters about how children of rape are blessings from the same God who commanded mass abortions in 2 Kings 15:16, and the name of a Pro-Life candidate emblazoned proudly as the payee of the billboard. This religious manipulation is almost comedic in it's absurdity.
It's difficult for me to believe that a woman's right to choose is still a political “issue” some forty three years after the Supreme Court upheld Roe Vs. Wade, correctly granting to every woman in the United States rights to her own body, the right to choose within the first trimester whether or not to carry to term something she may not be financially or emotionally ready for, the right to information about the body she has to live with, the right to a safe procedure if indeed she chooses to have an abortion.
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. After all, women are still considered to be “property” not fully human and highly disposable. Our culture teaches us that a woman who thinks for herself is not worth listening to, a woman who dresses in the latest fashion deserves rape, and that any woman who stands up for herself or makes any choice that is against that of a stranger's deserves death.
Women in general are still fighting for the right to vote in states that have suddenly shifted open voting to “closed” voting without warning in the presidential primaries. 96 years after the right for women to vote was ratified, and 146 years after race was removed from the list of reasons to bar an American citizen from voting, and women are still no better off in the general elections than the average dog.
Every political election cycle, the American right to let a woman choose her own path for the body she alone has to live with, comes up as though this was a “fresh” debate. Every year, we vote, rally, protest and fight through the streets, illustrating the scientific and medical reasons why not only abortion, but safe birth control and uncensored sex education are vital to the fate of our children.
And considering the fact that Kentucky has an inexcusable teen pregnancy rate, alarming poverty rate and a growing rise in sexually transmitted disease, anybody with a basic, public school, 5th grade education, would imagine that sex education and access to legal, safe birth control and clean clinics specializing in reproductive care, would be an essential priority.
And yet it's citizens, many of which are unemployed high school dropouts, not only vote into office women-hating Republicans, but they also vote to eliminate food stamps, access to free or low cost healthcare, access to birth control and anything to do with jobs or education.
What happens when you are forced to live because a “pro lifer” bullied your parents into keeping you, and then your folks lose access to any and all means to feed and medicate you?
Simple. You die.
We have children in Kentucky who were forced into existing, into families that do not care for them, barely surviving in poverty and without an education. The locals have actually fooled themselves into thinking that it is better to die in poverty before the age of twenty, than it is to have been aborted. The very [people why lie to themselves and pretend they “care” about these “precious lives” are actually making it harder and harder for these lives to grow up healthy and smart once they are no longer pink, mushy and fragile.
Food, non-slavery jobs, education and the right to decide what happens to your body, should not be played with as political toys. We as Americans deserve the right and freedoms to decide for ourselves where our lives are going, and the right to preserve our lives via food and medicine, without being spat upon and looked down upon by people who are precious more than strangers to us.
When we vote into office those who destroy our American liberties in the name of false “values” we are in fact telling Congress itself that we want to become little more than property. It may start with those “mouthy” women who are no longer in the kitchen, but sooner or later, the men end up suffering too.
After all, without women, who will be housing these “precious lives” for nine months?
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!