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Why the Texas Abortion Ban Needs an Anarchist Revolution of Ideas

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This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

When I was 18, I was an anarchist.

I enjoyed reading about Zen anarchy the most. Now, I’m not, nor have I ever been a Buddhist, and can’t claim expertise on Zen or personal knowledge of infinite enlightened truth. But the book, “Zen Anarchy” by Max Cafard states, “[Zen anarchy] rejects all ‘arches’ or principles — supposedly transcendent sources of truth and reality, which are really no more than fixed ideas, mental habits and prejudices that help create the illusion of dominating reality.”

In essence, everything we say or do is an empty lie, a reflection of a facet of interconnected infinite truth that can’t be vocalized by ideals. The way I’m describing it right now? An innocent, well-meaning lie that will help me engage with you and get to my larger point (eventually, I promise). My personal stance on anarchy as a teen was egalitarian; some bastardized version of anarcho-communism principles.

In a perfect world, that’s still me. Hoping we can, as a species, live our truths, take care of one another without the constraints of a boot on our neurodivergent necks. But as I age, so does the world. Alas, the political philosophy of our time evolved from the war-torn era of George W. Bush, to the veneer of hope and change promised under Obama, to the absolute nightmare that was the Donald Trump presidency. Needless to say, I moved left.

And now, it’s on the precipice of a revolution that I write this. A revolution of ideas. One that must occur if one ideal, one empty lie based in prejudice, stands to dial back the rights of women in this country, and all of it starts in Texas, where one of the most restrictive bans on abortion has been enacted and emergency appeal blocked by the United States Supreme Court.

So what’s going on? If you haven’t already read about it, the new Texas abortion law bans any uterus-having persons from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Why is this on The Mighty? Well, because pregnancy is an important health topic, as is abortion. Access to pregnancy information and abortion services has a direct impact on the mental health of people with uteruses. While some claim abortion predisposes people to lifetime trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the American Psychological Association refutes that saying, “[w]omen who are denied an abortion are more likely to initially experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with women who received an abortion.”

The main problem with this law is that at six weeks many people don’t even know they are pregnant. Science tells us, in the language of complicated medical gymnastics that doctors use to determine when someone conceived and how far along they are, six weeks is usually about two weeks after a missed period for most people with normal menstrual cycles. Two weeks! If you’re busy, if you have irregular periods, if your health care provider can’t get you in within that time frame, if you’re undecided, your health and future are irrevocably out of your hands because you missed the narrow window.

Almost equally abominable is the fact that any self-appointed bounty hunter can levy the new law against people who have abortions regardless if they have personal relationship to the pregnant person. You read that correctly. That means any random person can profit off of the highly emotional choice of a mother to have an abortion, as well as their supporters and maybe even their Uber driver, in a civil lawsuit. The law is written so citizens can take matters into their own hands, marginalizing the idea that our bodies are entirely our choice.

When we win, it will be poetic justice. The revolution of uterus-having Americans starts and ends in Texas, where the attack on women’s abortion rights began in the 1970s. It was in 1972 when the Supreme Court ruled on Jane Roe v. Henry Wade, stating definitively Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional. In the Roe v. Wade ruling, prosecuting people for reasonable abortion choices was deemed a violation of privacy rights granted under the 14th amendment. The ruling also drew an important line, one that states abortion at or before 12 weeks is legal, and anything beyond that requires medical stipulation. Looking at the new law and the lackadaisical response of the Supreme Court on the emergency order to block, it’s no question to me that if Roe v. Wade were happening today, in the climate of hyperpartisanship and faith-based oligarchies that is the United States, abortion would be illegal.

Our right to privacy hasn’t changed since the era of Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court set the first trimester precedent as a reasonable time frame for abortion. Since stigma impacts the neurodivergent and mental health communities, it is important we stand in sound, united in support of medical privacy and our precedented right to it.

In Alabama, a state that also passed a heartbeat bill, Marshae Jones was arrested in 2018 after she was shot in a fight and miscarried. The person who shot her was not prosecuted for the crime; however, Jones was arrested for manslaughter for failing to protect her fetus. When you see people with uteruses as mere vessels that hold the potentiality for life, not individual human beings with rights who can make competent decisions, you dehumanize us. This makes it easier to keep moving the needle of oppression, by design. In Jones’s case, no doubt the intersection of racism was also in play. This intersection of oppression, this lack of autonomy, is something many in the mental health community know well, and we should be able to come together against it — to say, “This is wrong.”

So, what do these states have in common? Overt sexism, racism — a fear of women and marginalized groups? Yeah, to name a few powerful empty lies wrapped up in a heartbeat bill. But fear is something we can work with, their fear is our revolution. In an age of marginalized people finding their power, of witches, of advocates, of Notorious RBG and Stacy Abrams, of prioritizing mental health and self-care, we are readying to be the change we want to see, to be the revolution of ideas.

Image by INNER NET NEWS from Pixabay

Originally published: September 20, 2021
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