Is the utopia of the radical right a world where women, doctors and anyone who does not conform to patriarchal norms are criminalized or killed? Does anyone really believe it is better to have children in the foster care system than with a parent who respects their gender identity and exploration? Do people really want to live in a world where everyone has a gun and where road rage can result in murder, as happened so recently to Elijah Lewis, a Seattleite who advocated against gun violence only to lose his life in the same way?
I cannot believe the vast majority of people who are caught up in this movement want the reality in which we now live. Maybe I do not want to believe it because of the people in my life, whom I believe are good people, who identify as “pro-life.” It defies any understanding that they want this dystopia.
In Tennessee, doctors are choosing between saving a patient’s life and risking prison. In South Carolina, legislators are trying to pass a law that would treat abortion as murder and potentially subject someone who terminates their pregnancy to the death penalty.
Can killing people who are unable or unwilling to carry a pregnancy to term really be what the vast majority of people who call themselves pro-life want?
That doesn’t even factor in all the collateral damage of states losing doctors and medical care facilities connected to reproductive care. A hospital in Idaho is closing its labor and delivery unit, which will mean many people will have to travel almost 50 miles for pregnancy- and birth-related care.
The U.S. already had the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized nation. How much worse will this make things?
Then we must factor in the awful reality of how we refuse to keep our children safe once they are out of the womb. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for kids – almost five in every 100,000. Yet, the same states creating draconian laws to prevent abortion also fight against gun solutions.
In Tennessee, three law makers tried to put up gun control legislation, and two, who are Black male lawmakers, got expelled by the Tennessee Legislature.
I am so grateful to live in Washington. But with Idaho as our neighbor, a bastion of oppression against women and trans people, we also have a stark reminder that liberty, freedom and autonomy are not guaranteed. We must protect our rights and fight for everyone to have laws and policies that focus on how to create opportunities for people to thrive in freedom, joy and liberation.
Jill Mullins is an intersectional feminist, attorney, activist and much more. She has written for NW Lawyer, King County Bar News and LGBTQ+ outlets.
Read more of the Apr. 19-25, 2023 issue.