There is a pro-choice rally in Wellington on Tuesday. I really wish that I could go. Partly because I want to feel like a proper days-of-yore feminist who goes to six protests before breakfast and then goes home to read the Beauty Myth. Partly because abortion is actually illegal in New Zealand and because getting an abortion requires already vulnerable women to jump through hoops like little sparkly-ruffed circus dogs. I'd like to go to the rally because for a woman to choose abortion in New Zealand she has to see two different doctors and she has to tell them that the continuation of her pregnancy will endanger her life, her mental health or her physical health. If she lives outside of Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland she will have to travel, often meaning many days away from work and away from her local support network. MP Steve Chadwick is currently proposing an Abortion Reform Bill to take abortion out of the Crimes Act, which surprisingly will be opposed by anti-abortion group Voice For Life. The life that they advocate for of course being that of unborn foetuses, rather than the full and healthy lives of women and their planned families. So I have a few pretty good reasons for wanting to go and protest.
But mostly, I'd like to go to the rally to say a big 'fuck you' to Peter Carlisle. I don't know who Peter Carlisle is, but he posted this on the Facebook event page for the No More Jumping Through Hoops Abortion Rights Protest and I instantly hated him:
Needless to say, I am more than a little offended by the dismissive, misogynist, homophobic, slut-shaming and inaccurate Peter Carlisle. So were a whole lot of other open legged lesbians on the event page. Nicola made this brilliant point:
Astute, although I often wish that we didn't have to use extreme situations like rape or incest to suggest that a woman should be entitled full control of her body. Hannah casually pointed out Peter's apparent lack of basic biological knowledge:
My friend Izzy, a she-wolf if there ever was one, eloquently put Peter in his place:
But Tessa possibly had the best argument of all:
And just quietly, Peter Carlisle is not only poorly informed about basic biology but also about the meaning of the word contraception. He should possibly get his facts right before posting on a Facebook event filled with slutty lesbians who also happen to be pedants. Contraception is something that is used to prevent conception, so I am guessing that most women who request abortion are a little past that point. And if Peter means that women are using abortion as a method of birth control, perhaps he should go and read this awesome blog post at the Curvature. Here is a snippet:
"Because do you understand the actual words you are speaking? Do you know what birth control is? It’s right there, in the name. It is something you use to control whether or not you give birth. That’s it. Ta-da. The end. When someone says “lots of women use abortion as a form of birth control!” what they mean is “lots of women use abortion.” The extra words are unnecessary. How the hell else are you going to use it?"
I would love to go to that protest to shove it to Peter Carlisle. I would like to shove it to all of the Peter Carlisles of the world; men who think they ought to have a say in what women do with their bodies. I would love to go because full equality depends upon women having full control over their fertility. I would love to show my support for Steve Chadwick's bill, because often it is not abortion that causes mental distress, it is the obstacles that women face. I would love to shove it to Peter Carlisle for suggesting that women who have abortions are sexually promiscuous and for even thinking that the amount of sex a woman has is something that can be used as an insult. It would be great to ask him about a pile of things, like why he thinks that my being a lesbian (or at least a woman who is in a same sex relationship) somehow seems to undermine my stance on reproductive rights or why he seems to think that women are solely responsible for planning when to have kids. I would like to take him up on why he thinks it is appropriate to tell another human being to just shut their legs. I would like to tell him about how no contraceptive is 100% effective and about how nobody is perfect and about the many women who have died in back alley procedures as a consequence of limited access to safe and legal abortion . I would like to tie him to a chair and make him watch Vera Drake. I would like to ask him why he feels so comfortable with the idea of forcing his moral beliefs onto others. I would like to politely suggest that if Peter Carlisle doesn't like abortions then maybe he doesn't have to get one, but he shouldn't rob others of their personal choice.
But I can't go to the protest. I will be sitting at my desk at work devoting eight hours of my day to typing, mediocrity and capitalism. But maybe you can. Go. Shove it to Peter Carlisle.
If you live in Wellington and you want to stick it to Peter Carlisle you should go to the No More Jumping Through Hoops: Abortion Rights Protest at the Court of Appeal tomorrow, on the 5th of October. Make a stand against Right to Life is taking the Abortion Supervisory Committee to court, to try and further restrict women's access to abortion in New Zealand.Meet on the corner of Aitken and Molesworth Street at 12.30pm and wear something red. I understand that organisers are also looking for volunteers to hand out fliers this afternoon at the train station and on Tuesday morning they need help blowing up balloons. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or go to the Facebook event page.