“We Have to Be a Nation That Trusts Women”

It has been a while since Angry Bear has featured Annie Asks You . . . Just been busy and I have been delinquent in doing so. This topic has been a long time in coming. I am confident it will be one which pushes America in the right direction.

AnnieAsksYou . . .

While the Republicans continue to scramble and dig more deeply into the hole created since the radical Supreme Court majority decimated reproductive freedom, making red state legislators giddy with newfound opportunities to deprive women of their rights, some commentators (male) are contending that this issue really doesn’t have the power it did in 2022 and 2023.

I remain quite confident that what was true in 2022, when I quoted the head of Planned Parenthood in my post:

“Abortion Is Actually Going to Save Democracy,” is even more true today.

The issue has moved far beyond the caricature of guiltless, sinful, hyper-sexed women that the right wants to be the face of abortion. That caricature has been replaced by brave women telling their stories: they are moms who learn that the babies they desperately wanted are dying in their wombs, jeopardizing their own lives and health; or they are physicians being told they’ll be jailed for helping such patients; or they are people who won’t tolerate the requirement that a child give birth to the baby sired by her stepfather.

Add to that the all-in Republican determination to oppose IVF, mifepristone, and contraception per se, and you have a strengthened pool of voters who grow even more determined every day–with every outrage that surfaces.

We’ll soon have another test of that questionable argument about flagging fervor surrounding reproductive rights.

Today, my husband and I mailed the post cards we’d written in support of Marilyn Lands, a Democrat running for a seat in the Alabama–yes, you read that right, Alabama–state House. See (*Note) below.

The March 26 special election will fill the seat vacated by Republican David Coe, who defeated Lands in 2022 but was forced to resign after entering a plea deal for voter fraud. Lands will face a two-term local councilman named Teddy Powell.

As you can see from the video above, Lands is focusing her campaign on reproductive freedom–centrally, though not exclusively. The video features a young couple in Alabama who must leave the state to get the abortion needed because the fetus she’s carrying has trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that means most babies won’t live beyond the first two weeks of life.

Lands describes having received similar news about one of her own pregnancies twenty years ago, when she learned the fetus she was carrying had “organ devastation.” The video features several other women saying–defiantly and emphatically–that women will not go back to the pre-Roe days that some courts and Republican legislatures are inflicting upon women.

Alabama has a “no exceptions” abortion ban that Lands is running to help repeal. It’s also where the state Supreme Court knocked down the very popular in vitro fertilization, which has started a national brouhaha as well.

In an interview with the Alabama Daily News, Lands said:

“It just seemed unbelievable to me that 20 years ago I was able to get the care I needed right here, in my own hospital with my own doctor, and Alyssa and her family had to make a horrific journey.”

“To think that we’ve gone backward and not forward; it’s just unacceptable.”

The Biden/Harris administration certainly doesn’t think women have lost their fervor about this first-ever instance of the Supreme Court’s removing a constitutional right previously guaranteed.

You’ve probably heard that Vice President Harris, who is spearheading the Biden campaign efforts with appearances around the nation on her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour, visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota last week.

Harris made the case that clinics like Planned Parenthood are essential for women’s health–and education. As she spoke, I recalled that her mother and inspiration, Shyamala Harris, was a cancer researcher who did pioneering work identifying the progesterone receptor gene–research that advanced the field of breast biology and cancer. I found the VP’s comfortable candor in discussing the female anatomy refreshing, and her calm demeanor compassionate and persuasive.

Please watch her as she speaks during this path-breaking visit to an abortion provider–though ironically, despite the fierce efforts to close what are often the only resources for women in need of healthcare for miles, Planned Parenthood devotes just three percent of its yearly budget to abortions.

Harris summed up her talk with these powerful and straightforward words.

“We have to be a nation that trusts women.”

.@VP Harris visits @ppnorthcentral: “It is only right and fair that people have access to the health care they need and that they have access to health care in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect.” pic.twitter.com/IFve6Y2tqI— CSPAN (@cspan) March 14, 2024

A recent KFF poll found that two-thirds of the public (86% of Democrats, 67% of independents, and 43% of Republicans ) support a law guaranteeing a federal right to abortion.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post cited the poll in an opinion piece that appeared on March 14 titled “Harris’s dogged fight for abortion rights should scare Republicans.”

He muses:

“One wonders what it is about the concept of bodily autonomy that Republicans don’t understand. It turns out that what Americans want–or want to reclaim–is the legal framework we had for nearly fifty years, before Trump’s three far-right appointees tipped the balance on the Supreme Court; women should have the fundamental right to choose, and abridgment of that right can only go so far.”

While Biden and Harris have been consistent in their support, Robinson writes,

“Republicans have made no coherent effort to respond, which is understandable, because they have no idea what their response should be.” (emphases mine)

Meanwhile, Trump was angry that his comment in support of a 16-week federal ban became public. He’s reportedly trying to figure out what his position will be as he seeks some way to “make both sides happy.”

Writes Robinson:

“The GOP’s big problem is that what Trump ought to say is the one thing he never, ever says: I’m sorry.”

I think there will be plenty of issues that lead to a Biden/Harris win in November. But it’s so very gratifying to ponder that the dreadful man who has wronged so many may well be taken down by America’s women voters.

His resounding defeat will be the fitting national bookend to the Access Hollywood tape that should have sunk his campaign in October, 2016.


(*Note: Some of you may wonder why my husband and I are spending our time writing post cards to Alabama voters. It’s become clear that the far-right Republicans who are suppressing votes, supporting the Big Lie, gerrymandering, and otherwise taking positions that don’t always correlate with many of their voters’ viewpoints have had free rein in the absence of attention from Democrats.

We know that reproductive freedom galvanizes women and their allies in red states as well as blue. Thus, supporting candidates who have a realistic chance of claiming seats in these state legislatures–and on local councils, school boards, etc.–is essential to a national campaign to ensure the continuation of our functioning democracy.)