Women’s rights are human rights

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A 1977 demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women. Peter Keegan/Getty Images

The last couple of weeks have left me full of rage and despair as I have watched politicians pass draconian measures to control a woman’s body, with zero concern for health or well-being.  Women’s rights are human rights, and by making abortion illegal, those rights are being stripped away at the most basic level.

Making abortion illegal is not “pro-life.”  Women have been dying throughout the course of history from unsafe abortions, and many, many more will if we take away this right.  Why is it that the life, the health, the autonomy, and the well-being of women are so easily disregarded?  And the well-being of families certainly is not being considered either: politicians condemn women for seeking abortions, but they also condemn the same families for seeking government assistance programs.  Where will they be when that child needs formula, needs childcare, needs food and shelter?

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions, it will only serve to legislate who can have access to safe abortions.  Rich politicians will always find ways for their mistresses to get rid of unintended pregnancies.  POC and the poor are the ones who will suffer the most.  They will either die getting an abortion under unsafe circumstances, or be forced to have children they cannot afford.  Banning abortions equals an enforced continuation of the poverty cycle, point-blank.

Here are some excellent articles, with food for thought, resources, and things we can do:

A brief primer on Alabama’s abortion ban, plus suggestions on ways help.

A new way to think about men and unwanted pregnancies.

How to help women in states with extreme abortion bans.

Trauma and aid

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I am full of anger and despair today, moved to tears by the inhumane policies that are tearing children from their parent sat the U.S. border.  Men and women are fleeing fatally dangerous gang violence in their home countries to seek asylum in our country, braving dangerous journeys that seem better that sure death or sexual slavery.  And yet, they are unknowingly walking into more cruelty, and it is breaking my heart.  These families do not have up-to-the-minute news coverage to know what is awaiting them.  They do not know that their children will be wrenched from them and left in “detention centers” where they will be refused even the most basic of human comfort.  They only know they will die if they stay in their home country.

Entering at the legal ports of entry is becoming difficult or impossible. U.S. border protection agents are physically preventing families from entering the country. They’re telling people at the borders that there is no room. “They are systematically violating U.S. and international law by blocking immigrants at international ports of entry on the southern border from entering the country so they can claim asylum,” writes Texas-based immigration writer Debbie Nathan.

Plus, it’s important to note that agents are also separating some families at the legal ports of entry. “They are turning people away at the bridges, they are holding people indefinitely in prisons, they are neglecting medical needs, and yes, they are even separating parents and children at the ports (especially dads and their kids),” says Allegra Love, director of Santa Fe Dreamers Project.

via Cup of Jo

People cannot seek asylum if they are prevented from entering through legal points of entry.  The argument that these families are “illegals” only serves to dehumanize them enough that this cruelty seems justifiable.  But these are human beings — with dreams and rights and families.  Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor, so unless you think petty theft or jaywalking also warrant confiscation of one’s children and what amounts to a death sentence, I’d urge you to think again. There is no law that requires families to be separated.  This is a Trump administration policy.

Here are some ways to help.  These families need aid, they need hope, and they need justice.

Donate or volunteer with RAICES

Support kids at the border with ActBlue

Support the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights as they champion unaccompanied immigrant children

Find a demonstration or protest near you with Families Belong Together

photo via John Moore