Purity culture, abortion and politics.

What an insane week it has been in this country. The emotional labor poured out by women this week, especially women of color and marginalized communities; has been paralyzing at times. I feel like I’ve gone from tweet storming against the evangelical political machine to being completely exhausted to where I can’t even think about it another second.

By the time my husband gets home my emotions are at peak crisis point. And we lament about the day’s news and yet another state and ANOTHER state passing abortion bans. There are a lot of feelings. And I kind of want to work through those a little bit here.

Growing up in what I now understand to be purity culture, I was taught to be extremely pro-life. I say extreme because in evangelical culture (and its many off-shoots) there is no varying degree of pro-life. Abortion is murder, full stop. Now secretly, I personally changed my stance to make an exception for rape victims, because I did believed that victims should not be forced to birth their attacker’s baby. Even as a teenager I saw this was cruel. But it did not change the fact that I had to believe life started at conception, and because of that women should not have a choice. Murder was against the law, and against God’s commandments.

Never once in my teenage brain did it ever occur to me that policing a woman’s body was wrong. So let’s unpack that for a moment. Purity culture likes to take scripture and use it in a way to control women and girls, placing the burden of all men’s sexual sins directly on their shoulders. At same time we’re taught that our body just “on loan” while we’re “passing through” this world on our way to heaven.

So if you’re told from barely adolescence that your body is not your own to begin with, then you are made to feel you don’t have any say over your own self. So why on earth would it occur to us that telling a woman she had to give birth is wrong or unethical?

And here in lies one of the most terrifying, and disturbing things about this political climate. It is white evangelical WOMEN helping to write these bills. Helping to sign them into law. Yes, there are plenty of white dudes to blame too, but it’s the women, notably the same women who voted for Trump and refused to believe Dr. Blasey-Ford and voted for Roy Moore; who are making sure all of women’s human rights are stripped away.

Your gender, no matter what it is, does not make you less human than any other human on this planet. You have rights. You should not be forced to birth a child. Childbirth is not for everyone. And yes, even though those of us with a uterus and ovaries are biologically (sometimes) able to birth a child, it does not mean it’s necessary to do so in order to remain human.

So what do we do? How do we combat this helpless feeling that Handmaiden’s Tale is no longer a book or television show but coming to life before our very eyes? I don’t have a simple answer. But I know it starts with not being silent. It starts with using your voice. However you can. This is going to be the battle of our lives. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed women’s bodily autonomy being attacked like is now.

There have been many articles and posts written about all the reasons these abortion bans will kill women. About all the ways forced birth kills women. This post is just a glimpse into the mind of one girl, who grew up believing pro-life was the only option if she loved Jesus. And that’s just not true. It’s a lie. It’s a lie that has been manufactured to advance the political careers of white evangelical men who believe women are the lesser gender and their lives don’t matter.

I hope we can band together in this frightening time in our history to protect the lives of women and girls. Will you stand by and be silent in the name of mainstream Christian subculture? Or will you rise in the name of human rights? The time for complacency is over. The time for action is here, now.