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Right now Conservatives, many of them women, are saying “liberals” are making up a War on Women. They warn people not to believe the hype. The War On Women refers to many issues affecting whether women have equal status in the world to men. Right now it is focused on the healthcare rights of women that are being taken away. But is it really a war on women?

Let’s see. To note, The War on Women isn’t a new war and women who are concerned with women’s rights have been using these words for years. Recently though, things have taken a new turn that includes the following:

1. Women seeking abortions are required to have vaginal ultrasounds before the procedure, when ultrasounds are not medically necessary. It is then required that the women are shown the ultrasound pictures and have them described to them. These are requirements even if the women don’t want to see the ultrasound images or hear the description- and of course, most don’t. But, in many states (Texas included, which is where I live), she is forced by the law to get the ultrasound, look at the results and hear about them if she wants an abortion.

It’s a form of medical blackmail and essentially, it is rape. As a form of unwanted sexual contact, which unwanted vaginal penetration is, it not only requires medical personnel to be perpetrators, but it also forces women who have made a choice about their bodies to be sexually assaulted.

2. The “personhood” bill, which says people are people upon conception, which doesn’t really make sense, but frames the debate about when a person is a person. It’s interesting because a conception is an idea, so I thought I wanted a baby and pooof I had a full person. It was years ago when I first thought I wanted a baby, so really, my toddler is twenty something. Yikes.

But if they’re talking about when a couple has sex, it actually may be days before the egg and sperm turn into a fetus, if it turns into one. And if they are speaking about when an egg and a sperm first hook up, it’s still extreme, considering that if the mother’s body wasn’t around, a one day old fetus hasn’t a chance in the world. Not to be crass, but it’s a parasite that may or may not make it to being a baby.

The so called “personhood” amendment gives more rights to an unborn fetus than to women. It is a way to shift the nation’s view on abortion and whether women should be able to make choices for their bodies.

3. Then there’s the contraception issue with Sandra Fluke being called a slut by Limbaugh and the framing of women who want access to contraception, whether for birth control or other medical reasons, as sluts and prostitutes. That tipped over into the belief of Patriarchy: that women are for men’s sexual pleasure.

4. Focus has also included cuts being made to funding to programs assisting victims of Violence Against Women (VAWA).

So, okay, it has been intense, but is it really a War on Women? Conservatives say that liberals are trying to make you believe that. Rush Limbaugh included.

The answer is YES, there is a War On Women. Let me tell you why.

When women’s rights to decide for their bodies are taken from them and put in the hands of the government, women are seen as incapable of making decisions and participating fully in the society.

This dehumanizes women. It makes us less than. When we are seen as less than, we are treated poorly. We are more easily seen as objects. Advertising also regularly uses women’s bodies in ways that objectify us, reinforcing this notion. When we are seen as objects, we are not people and can’t make decisions for ourselves and our bodies and what we want for ourselves or our children or for the world. This edges us out of participating.

Right now we are participating, but not equally. Anyone can look at the government and see that there aren’t as many women as there are men. We are in corporations but don’t hold as many leader or board positions as men. We write but aren’t as published in news sources as men. In the U.S., we have more education overall than men, but are still passed up for promotions and not paid the same amount as men.

If we can’t participate in the society like men can, then we don’t have a seat at the table when decisions are made about us and on issues that are really important to our lives. This may be healthcare. It may be whether we have to cover our heads in public. It may be whether we can drive or vote or work outside of the home.

Am I sounding extreme? These healthcare issues being talked about as the War on Women are about our right to make choices for our bodies. That can be whether we want a safe abortion or not. It can also be whether we want to have sex or not (rape). Whether we want to be married off to someone we don’t love. Whether we want to be sold into sex slavery. Whether we can decide what we want to wear. Whether we want to have acid thrown on us.

*When we can’t make decisions for ourselves, we are seen as 2nd class and less than. When we are seen in this way, the more violence is perpetrated against us.

The more we are beaten up, put down, raped, and killed. This is a direct link and I have drawn it out to explain it, but the connection happens in an instant. It is happening now. Women are raped, beaten, killed all the time for being women.

So yes- this is a life or death matter. Yes it is a War On Women.

There are marches being scheduled all over the country on April 28th, so sign up to go to one in your area to preserve women being women and being able to make decisions for themselves. Click on this link: We Are Women March

Trust women. There is a war on us and it does have casualties.

Grrl Code: The backlash of people saying there is no war on women is just that, backlash. Women have made tremendous gains in equality and Patriarchal forces don’t like it and are pushing back. But this is real, the push to cut our healthcare and the laws that don’t allow us to make choices for our bodies threaten our personhood and put us at greater risk of violence.

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