GUILFORD — It is clear that the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court caught the Republicans completely off guard, even though they have been working to take away the rights of women since before they killed the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Right must have thought that stealing the basic rights to bodily autonomy and to determining the size of one's own family would be upsetting at first, but then we would all get over it. The pundits always say that Americans have a short span of attention, especially when it comes to politics, so it appears that the forced birthers didn't have a clue about the buzzsaw they were about to confront.
The discussion of abortion has shifted greatly from the pre-Dobbs days. It is standard now, unless you are a fan of Fox and its ilk, to hear abortion referred to as "abortion health care."
In fact, the media now tells us that abortion is a part of the many procedures used by doctors and midwives to keep women healthy. Some of the heartbreaking cases of doctors being unable or unwilling to do their jobs have resulted in permanent damage to the women who were denied care.
This damage ranges from being unable to have more children because of the damage done to the reproductive organs to the unbearable suffering they endured when they could have been resting, recovering, and taking care of their lives.
A woman described her torment waiting for her sepsis to become life-threatening so she could be treated for a fetus that had no chance of survival. Another woman was thrilled to get pregnant, only to learn that her fetus was not viable. She had to stay pregnant for months until she birthed a child who suffered for a few days before passing away.
The real fanatics want to deny women with cancer the chance to be alive, since often the drugs will damage a fetus.
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Unlike 50 years ago, when the abortionist was forced to work in a back alley or underground, and most people who had the procedure did so secretly, dozens of brave women have opened up and discussed their worst moments in order to prevent others from having to face the same horrors. These stories are magnified many times over on social media.
In Ohio, the voters recalled the spectacle of the poor 10 year old, impregnated by rape, who had to travel out of state in the miserable no-exception land that state has become.
In Kentucky, Andrew Beshear was re-elected governor with the help of a brave young woman who addressed his Republican opponent directly, telling him about her experience as a victim of incest at age 12.
The deplorable Glenn Youngkin thought he was real smart when he told Virginia voters that he had the solution for all this abortion talk: the 15-week ban with exceptions for rape and incest. We all agree on this, right?
Not so fast.
The voting in the recent election showed us something very interesting: Women don't want men making laws getting between us, our families, and our doctors. The vast majority of this country does not want Republican men deciding that six weeks should be the cutoff for treatment, or 12 weeks, or 15 weeks.
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The numbers don't lie: women and those who love them say no. Taking away a human right that most of us felt was secure will not be compromised away.
After a long string of not-even-close defeats, the Republicans, who are loathe to compromise on anything, suddenly are talking about the need to come to "common ground."
It is hard to imagine that these mostly white, buttoned-up men think that the women of 2023 - who either lived the explosion of feminism or have raised daughters with the feminist awareness of the past 50 years - believe they can persuade/force/bribe women into accepting their intervention into the most basic aspects of our lives.
Fifty years ago, women were not all in the workforce. In 2023, those who are trying to force women to give birth also fight tooth and nail against expanded Medicare, family medical leave, and any other programs helping women and families.
The level of delusion is remarkable: in Ohio, the tremendous margin of passage for the amendment enshrining abortion, birth control, and other good things into the state constitution did not seem to percolate down to the state legislature.
It took only a day after the vote for these guys to try to find ways to circumvent the will of the people. As former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum brilliantly deduced from the referendum, "pure democracies are not the way to run a country."
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Millions of women came out for the Women's March after the disaster that was the 2016 election.
We did not disappear. We were waiting for the right opportunity, and after Trump-appointed justices gave us the Dobbs decision, now is the time.
Women are not going back to being chattels.
And Republicans think their problem is messaging.
Nancy Braus, until recently an independent bookseller, is a longtime activist who contributes often to these pages.
This Voices Viewpoint was submitted to The Commons.