Regulation and Rights

The Las Vegas shooting is at the top of tragic news this week, which effectively distracted us from the D’s continued systemic dismantling of reproductive and other human rights.  This week saw directives and legislation further restricting abortion, birth control and LGBT protections.

Is my uterus really more dangerous than an AK-47? The GOP continues to regulate and control our collective uteri with righteous and religious fervor, while staunchly defending the right for any and all Americans to amass semi-automatic weaponry; weaponry designed for purpose of killing.  What about our right to feel safe while going to a movie, going to a concert or going to school?

Posts on Social Media suggest we should store guns in our vaginas; at which time they would immediately be subject to strict regulation.  (There’s nothing the GOP hates more than an unregulated, rebel pussy.) The GOP seem to believe that while anyone and everyone is responsible enough to own an AK-47; women are not responsible enough to manage our own reproductive organs, or to bare our arms in congress.

Other social media posts suggest that prospective gun-owners should go through the same hoops that a young woman is required to endure when seeking an abortion.  Given the incidence of gun deaths in our country, if someone is truly ‘pro-life’ it seems that they would be a staunch advocate for restrictions on owning a gun.

One doesn’t have to search far to find the hypocrisy of lawmakers that deny reproductive freedoms to others while quietly paying for birth control and/or abortions to cover their own indiscretions.  Just this week, a staunch opponent of choice (I refuse to use the term ‘pro-life’ to describe this perspective), Tim Murphy was found to have encouraged his mistress to get an abortion.

Joan Chittesh, author and Catholic nun summed up the hypocrisy well:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”


This weekend, I saw The Battle of the Sexes movie–a dramatization of the real-life tennis match between self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs and tennis / feminist phenom, Billy Jean King.  The match took place in 1972, and it served as a reminder that not so long ago it was acceptable to publicly describe women as weak and inferior, and to mock female athletes.

We owe a debt to Billie Jean, and others that braved public ridicule and worse to speak up against the the blatant misogyny of the day.  While strides have been made since that time, we are currently experiencing a rolling back of hard-fought progress for women and other oppressed groups.  How will we respond?

I  hope and pray for the day that my own grand-daughters will look back at this time and be shocked by the culture of hate and divisiveness — a culture that (hopefully) contrasts with their future reality.  I hope they will be proud of how we, their parents and grandparents, responded to the current crisis of human rights.  After all, our generation of voters made this mess–we need to do our best to clean it up.

Courtesy of Paula Riesch is a member of Indivisible Madison and a frequent contributor to the IM newsletter and website.