I’ve been thinking this morning about the total ban on abortion in Nicaragua which I blogged about yesterday, about the way it’s generally being blogged and reported, and I’m wondering how clear it is to how many progressive people what has actually happened to women in that country, and how very likely it is that something similar will happen in the U.S., as Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors has also suggested.
The story of Ortega’s rise to prominence once again in Nicaragua is complicated, possibly, for those unfamiliar with the story behind the Sandinistas, the Contras, and Ortega. I remember the 70s and 80s very well, remember who the good guys, from a progressive perspective, were, and who the bad guys were (read: all the guys the White House and Republicans supported). So it doesn’t take much for me to seevery quickly and clearly what has happened there. I think it would be less clear for someone who had not lived through those years.
I am writing this post in the hopes that all women, and all who are truly our allies, will seriously consider what has happened in Nicaragua so far as the total ban on therapeutic abortion and all the ways it might be a portent of things to come for all of the world’s women. When men — be they left, right, centrist, conservative, liberal, progressive, Green, socialist, communist, Marxist, capitalist, libertarian, fascist, religious, fundie, atheist, you name it — see an opportunity to ascend to power, and all it will cost them is to throw a few women and our issues under a truck, I guarantee you, that’s what men will do. That’s exactly what they will do. Conservative men and liberal men, religious men and nonreligious, will forge alliances every time it benefits them, if the only cost is women and our issues. We might have fought beside them all the live-long day, might have been in the trenches with them, might have given all of our lives in dedication to struggles they have led, and in return, we will find that all along, for example, as Ortega did, they were incesting their daughter. We will find them converting to conservative religion (too many names to count, but including Ortega). We will find them hooking up with pornographers. We will find them betraying us.
What other reasons are there for the fact that after 40-plus years of feminism in the United States, women are losing, losing, losing ground — just basic, basic freedoms and liberties — every day? What other reason can you cite for the rolling back of therapeutic abortion rights in Nicaragua, rights women there have had since 1891, lost now in large part because a “leftist” man bailed and hooked up with the Vatican?
If, as women, we do not put women’s issues first, we will lose all of the rights that we have, one by one, I guarantee you, we will lose them all. We will wake up one day, having given all of our energies to some male-led, worthy-sounding cause, to find we have no reproductive rights, we cannot get birth control, we don’t dare to report we have be raped, we lose everything when we attempt to divorce, we cannot present as we want, live as we want in the world, we have lost it all.