Make America 1864 Again

My Body My Choice

An abortion ban dating back to 1864?  Are you kidding me?!  That’s only a year after this former Confederate officer lost his life fighting (on the wrong side) in the Civil War.  Back then our knowledge of medicine was so limited that army doctors didn’t even know enough to sterilize their knife before starting the next amputation.  Soldiers on both sides of the conflict died agonizing deaths from infection for no reason other than doctors’ ignorance.  Good God—they didn’t even know what germs were!

That should tell you something about the status of healthcare at the time the Arizona abortion law was enacted.  As for the status of women in 1864, things weren’t much better; they didn’t yet have the right to vote and weren’t equal to men under the law.  And Black people?  The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1857 Dredd Scott Decision declared them lesser beings unfit for citizenship, and the 13th Amendment, which finally ended slavery, wasn’t passed until late 1865, following the Confederacy’s defeat.  Is it any wonder that an abortion law enacted in 1864 might be a trifle antiquated?  Thank goodness the world has changed since my day.

I’ve often spoken of MAGA’s nostalgic version of America’s past, including their desire to return to the idealized world portrayed in Little House on the Prairie. Putting aside the 300-year genocide of native Americans necessary to free up the land on which the little house sits, something conveniently missing from their romanticized version of history are the grave markers that often surrounded houses of that sort in the 19th century.  While the graves sometimes contained grandma and grandpa, they most frequently contained children who died as infants, newborns, and even miscarriages.  And they also contained the bodies of women, the pioneer’s previous wives who had died during pregnancy, childbirth, or shortly thereafter, as was frequently the case due to the lack of modern medical knowledge or care.

NEWSFLASH fanatical anti-abortion MAGAs—”women’s reproductive healthcare” isn’t just a catchy slogan dreamed up by pro-choice advocates to obscure the fact that abortion ends the life of the fetus.  Women’s reproductive healthcare is something that wasn’t available until recent decades and shouldn’t be taken for granted; without it women can suffer and die.

Little House on the Prairie stamp

MAGAs Would Like to Take Us Back to the Days Before the Civil War.

It’s hardly surprising that right-wing MAGAs are happy with an abortion law dating back to 1864; they’d probably be happy with just about any law from that era.  They don’t want women to have equal rights, they don’t want African Americans or other people of color to have equal rights, and they certainly don’t want LGBTQ people to have equal rights.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Opposition to reproductive autonomy isn’t based on concern for the unborn, it’s based on the desire to maintain the patriarchal power structure—the notion that a woman is a child-bearing vessel rather than a human being who is a man’s equal.

Something else I’ve frequently spoken about is how MAGAs want to go back to the time before the civil rights era, back to the “happy days” of the 1950s. Well, once again the joke is on this humble spirit—the 1950s would hardly satisfy their obsessive need to go back in time.  If given the opportunity, as now presented in Arizona, they would like to take the country back to the days before the Civil War freed the slaves, even if it means sacrificing humankind’s progress during the last 160 years.  Never mind what life was really like for their ancestors, never mind all the graves surrounding that little house on the prairie.

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