Punishment

District of Columbia, 2017

In 2017 American women and their supporters, to the tune of a half-million, marched to protest the unfit, incoming president. This joyous mass of participating citizens lent a true sense of history in the making; we marched that day as one.

In the days following that massive protest women returned home, energized, running for office, working for candidates, and witnessing our first elected female Vice President. This change was as breathtaking as it was exciting. So it comes as no surprise women would pay a steep price for our audacity.

At this writing American women stand on the precipice of losing fifty years of reproductive rights. And this retribution is especially nasty, a vicious retaliation on our medical and political autonomy. No quarter is given for rape, incest, or domestic violence. American women are, once again, fair game, relegated as second-class-citizens under the law.

In that light the striking down of Roe isn’t about abortion. Few women seek such a procedure, and even those numbers have continued to decline. The thrust is to punish and marginalize women standing up for equal protection under the law. There is clarity in this moment of looming suppression, and we have no choice but to double-down to protect ourselves, our daughters, and granddaughters.

Other select groups also feel that same oppressive heat. Americans of color, and non-binary sexual orientation, endure similar reactionary treatment, because, they too, have demanded justice. Today’s GOP serves only white, male, reactionaries.

Gail Chumbley is a history educator and author.

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