Updated: Nov 23, 2022
This week the Supreme Court will potentially be voting on whether or not to overturn the 1973 legal ruling Roe v. Wade, which makes a person’s right to choose an abortion without excessive government restriction protected under the Constitution.
Control over bodies is where I draw the line at my typical attitude of “it is what it is”. I cannot imagine not having the choice and access to the medical procedure that truly saved my life. Yet, here we are. The majority of those in a position of power and with the influence to make decisions about people’s bodies are men– overwhelmingly old, cis, straight, white men- the patriarchy. Men that do not fear, or will likely never have to experience physical and mental abuse by way of penetrative rape, nor have they been pregnant without accessible and affordable resources. They don’t understand what it means to have their bodies be under another’s control, or to be powerless. And they are not alone in their crusade against reproductive rights – cis-het white women have also been pivotal supporters of these efforts, in a display of painful cognitive dissonance that doesn’t allow them to see the danger they are putting their own lives and bodies in.
They too are a part of an oppressive power structure which has signaled that the politics of domination and control and religious fundamentalism play a much more important role in health care than science and evidence. Their part in any rollback of Roe v. Wade is not just by design, it is an outright threat to all women and people with uteri and violence towards marginalized women and trans communities everywhere.
When we start taking away one group’s rights and bodily autonomy, it is a danger to us all. It sets a dangerous precedent that is unlikely to stop at abortion. We have already seen reproductive care and gender-affirming care come under further scrutiny and attack. We are all at risk because this kind of social regression more firmly situates male dominated power structures as the center around which we have to live our lives.
Of course, any such violent oppression is not equally distributed. Those that have privilege will fare far better than people in the margins of our society. Without a doubt, any legislation, at any level, designed to remove our bodily autonomy \will be disproportionately more harmful to sex workers and drug users, trans communities, poor communities, immigrants, Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color.
I'VE CHOSEN TO TAKE POWER BACK OVER MY OWN BODY, TO PROFIT ENTIRELY OFF OF AND FOR MYSELF IN A WAY THAT SAYS "FUCK YOU" TO THE PATRIARCHY TRYING TO PROFIT OFF OF US.
Bodily oppression and control has long been a primary manner in which the arms of the patriarchy have retained power. The Church, the State, and Capitalism have worked together to control the power and possibility of those it deems inferior. They are the reason why accessibility and affordability have always been obstacles, especially for marginalized communities. Things such as pink tax, the lack of paid parental leave, difference in wages across gender and racial divides, and even social media’s choice to censor and attack most specifically the feminine and queer body are all examples of their power and oppression. Time and again we have literally and figuratively been stripped of our rights, controlled, and treated like property for the majority of modern history.
The Roe v. Wade ruling wasn’t made because the Court believed people should have the right to access abortions. The court created this ruling based on a person’s right to privacy. The underlying values of a right to privacy included both decisional autonomy and the physical consequences of exercising that autonomy. With this ruling under threat, we are opening the door for our rights to privacy to be stripped away from more and more aspects of our lives.
From the Earn It Act taking away our right to internet privacy, to the ruling that Border agents can enter our homes without a warrant, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is just one attack in a long line of attacks on our fundamental and constitutional right to privacy.
As a sex worker I’ve chosen to flip the script. I’ve chosen to take power back over my own body, to profit entirely off of and for myself in a way that says “fuck you” to the patriarchy trying to profit off of us. That makes me a threat, and I am not alone.
We are not just at risk from a reversal of abortion rights but at risk for what follows. Complete and total dehumanization, and a government that is allowed to access and control every aspect of our lives. So, again, as we have throughout history, we have to ask: who gets to decide who has rights?
WORDS BY ODETTE
PHOTO BY RYAN THOMAS