A woman is should be the first line of any discussion when any thought of her right to choose anything comes up in any forum. In her is, there is no longer any subtracting devices such as who, what, when, where, how or even why. None of these questions are pertinent or relevant to her unalienable right to choose (and yes, un-). There should be no equivocation for anyone sane enough to want to save a woman from the unnecessary horrors that existed before Roe versus Wade. I have said this in essays before, and I will reiterate it again and again in essays to come. There were horrors before the law got behind a woman’s right to choose; curtain rods and all that sort of letting the air in. I’ll never forget the end of Goddard’s Masculin et Femminin, or Hemmingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” where the word abortion is never mentioned. There is only an oblique reference to a curtain rod at the close of the formerly mentioned film from 1965, or a reference in Hemmingway’s short-story to just letting in the air–yes, opening the cervix. Sounds a lot like alien invasion probing, no?
I taught the short-story without any foreground, and the students were much surprised that the story was about abortion–perhaps girls or women would have been less so in the 20s. Now we use mediccal vacuum cleaners, nozzles with teeth–yes, teeth, metal teeth reminiscent of shark’s teeth. How inventive; but then also one of those cliche nightmares of vaginas with teeth? Who dreams of such things as vacuuming out embryos through metal teeth?
In the Bible, issue is used for children or gonorrhea. What am I saying? What have any of us been saying. How can I say anything for her, this woman or that woman, any woman when her personhood is the topic? Why should her personhood be the topic of any discussion other than its defense?
How can I not talk about women? How can I not? How can we not talk about them, about those people–are they people in our diction, in our discussions? What then must we do? What then must I say? We cannot disallow ourselves the ability to speak rationally for woman. When I speak rationally in defense of a woman’s right to choose and in defense of a woman’s personhood, I also speak rationally for liberty, for humanity, for civil rights, for human rights? Defending a woman’s rights is an obligation I take seriously–it should be for all of us everywhere. I know that this is not a universal sentiment. As John Lennon once said, “Woman is the nigger of the world.” This has not much changed in the last forty years since this assertion.
You might ask me who I think I am to say It is the obligation of every human to defend human rights, but you would be grossly mistaken if you believed this posture of yours had credibility. Be able to ask this question about our obligations, or even pose it as a rebuttal, does not in itself amount to a refutation of what I assert is a transcendent fact of our humanity. If we ever get to a place where I cannot speak for a Woman’s Rights because I am a man, then we are lost. But then roads to perdition, as rocks and hard places, are provided frequently for the repressed and oppressed in the world. If you do not believe it is your obligation to defend in one or another manner, or your responsibility to add ypour light to the sum of light, then I cannot make you do so. I am only then obligated further to keep vigilance.