Rebecca Traister’s recent piece on The Cut, “Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical,” hits hard and directly as what we must do to fight for our reproductive rights in this time of aggressive abortion ban attempts, which ultimately seek to overturn Roe v Wade.
Rage and Ways to Channel It
Traister begins with how she has been thinking about rage. Like her, I have to say that these recent legislative abortion bans have riled fury and anger in me. She gives us three ways to channel this energy, but first sets the ground for them:
“First, never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message. Consider that this is also what women and marginalized people are told all the time about their anger in general: that they should not express it, not let it out, because to give voice to their rage will distract from their aims, undermine them; that it will ultimately be bad for them. This messaging is strategic. It is designed to get angry people to keep their mouths shut…. it is when the anger is let loose that the organizing happens in earnest.”
Keep our mouths shut we will not. Traister lays out ways to put these feelings to productive use: 1) seek out the organizing that is already underway, 2) vote, and not just for president, but Congress and at the state level. Related to this, plug in to help organizations involved in fighting voter suppression, 3) protest, go to rallies, “join a local political group where your rage will likely be shared with others.”
Why is this Fight so Important for the Childfree?
Of course these outlets relate to what all women (and men) can do. However, as a childfree person, I see at least three reasons why we have to fight these forced birth laws:
We don’t want a child – ever. Control over our reproductive lives is important for all, but the childfree want the kind of control that nets zero kids – none. To be sure of net zero, there is sterilization, but as many women who seek it out know, medical paternalism remains rampant, and it is not a slam dunk to obtain this procedure.
Being forced to raise a child could very well forever negatively impact our lives. Being forced to carry a pregnancy to term and become a parent will mean losing the kind of life we want to live – one without parenthood. Now, we would not have to keep the baby; we could give the baby up for adoption and not raise it, but that too, raises potential grief and upset in the future. It could take an emotional toll, or could unfold to challenging situations in the future, e.g., an adult child showing up at our door one day, asking why we gave him/her up. I know I would think about that. Even with policies that protect the birth parents who don’t want to ever meet the child they gave up, I have known people who have successfully sought out and found their birth parent(s) anyway.
Being forced to raise an unwanted child, and the impacts this will have on that child. If we decide to keep the child after being forced to carry it to term, not only will our childfree life be gone forever, but the unwantedness will bleed through into our lives and to that child. Raising a child well when we did not want him/her in the first place will be rough to say the least, for the former childfree and the child.
The childfree have specific reasons to “get comfortable using our rage” during this time of serious challenges to keeping control of our reproductive lives.
To the childfree out there, why else is it particularly important for the childfree to fight to retain control of our ‘non’-reproductive lives?
I am with Traister – allow yourself to feel and use the rage. At least in my lifetime, it has never been more important to retaining our choice not to reproduce.