Dear Mr. Drumpf, I #WontBePunished

Ed. note: This post was originally published on the Community site.

Dear Mr. Drumpf,

Well, I guess it was just our time. Since you’ve said asinine and offensive things about Latin@s, Muslims, immigrants, Black communities, the people of Iowa, your competitors, Black Lives Matter activists, NATO, reporters, most other countries, people with disabilities, women in general, refugees, virtually every news outlet, cats…(sigh, I could go on) I guess it was just time for you to come for the one in three of us who’ve had abortions.

In response to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ question about what you would do to people who have abortions, after the Constitution is magically dismantled to make abortion illegal, you rambled,

“Well, you know, you will go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places but you have to ban it…The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment [for people having abortions].”

When pressed by Matthews as to whether the man who got us pregnant would also be “punished,” like the true misogynistic coward you are, you muttered that they would not.

I get it – you have to make incendiary statements to distract from the fact that you are woefully ill-informed, have absolutely no presidential ideas or governing skills, and your campaign manager was arrested this week. Your entire response defending him as he lied, and continues to lie, about his assault of a female reporter is a walking billboard for rape culture and victim blaming. You and your supporters have made your hatred for women quite clear. I shouldn’t be surprised. And yet, we are all still floored that you always seem to take us to a new low – while running for the highest office in our nation.

This time, you are advocating to make an incredibly safe and routine medical procedure illegal and unsafe because you don’t like it (or because you think it’s politically expedient), and then to “punish” those who access that service. Reproductive rights advocates have warned that anti-choice policies will take us back to the 1950s, however, you want to take us back further than that.

Later, your team grasped how ridiculous and out of touch your statements really were, because 7 in 10 Americans are pro-choice, and tried to walk it back:

“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”

I know you’re allergic to facts, and are ignorant to the most basic understandings like whether the KKK is bad or not, but bear with me for a second while I explain a few things. The Supreme Court has already ruled on abortion – Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and abortion is legal. It is true your fellow anti-choice politicians are working overtime to chip away at it to make abortion extremely inaccessible. But we are fighting back.

You see, Mr. Drumpf, I had an abortion when I was 19. I am not ashamed of it. I am not ‘a victim’. My abortion provider did not prey on me and did not commit a crime. I became pregnant when I didn’t plan on it, and I went to my abortion provider for care. I received compassionate care, which I am thankful for over a decade later. And like 95 percent of women, I don’t regret my abortion. We aren’t scared of you anymore. We are sharing our abortion stories unapologetically. I’m sure it scares you and your ilk, but with the climate you have created, we have nothing more to lose.

There are so many of us who have had abortions – 1.3 million per year. We’re a third of women. Are you really going to punish us all? Everyone loves someone who had had an abortion – even you Mr. Drumpf, although you probably don’t believe it.

You and your anti-choice friends won’t get away with calling us, and our abortion providers, ‘murderers’ and ‘baby killers,’ and then act surprised when people harass us on the street or shoot at our clinics. You cannot continue to incite violence and then cry that someone else started it.

You may not recognize it, but your “politically incorrect” speeches take the veil off Republican policies to expose what they would really mean to our communities. Your party already put in place policies to “punish” and jail those who seek abortions, have miscarriages, or experience addictions while pregnant. You admitted that illegal abortions will persist, particularly through unsafe means.

While anti-abortion extremists may assert they care about ‘health and safety‘ and never want people seeking abortions punished, here’s the kicker: many people are already being jailed for inducing abortions, or simply the suspicion of inducing their own abortion. Kenlissia, Bei Bei, and Anna, mostly women of color, are already living out your perverted vision. Purvi is serving 20 years. Jennifer is serving time for helping her daughter get abortion pills. Thousands are currently fundraising to help those who are harmed by the Hyde Amendment and other abortion restrictions, and face challenges affording and accessing the abortions they seek.

It’s odd to see your colleagues distance themselves from your comments when you made public their grand scheme to deny and criminalize reproductive healthcare to people across this country. Ohio Governor John Kasich claimed punishing women wasn’t “an appropriate response” and said we should “build some restrictions around it, but we’re a long way from there.” He has built a lot of restrictions, unconstitutionally attempting to close most of the clinics in his state. What he asserts is a long way off, is already Ohio’s reality.

And then there’s Lyin’ Ted. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that “we should affirm [women’s] dignity” meanwhile denying us the autonomy to make pregnancy decisions on our own, cutting support to low-income families, fighting to defund Planned Parenthood, and heralding the endorsement of a man who condones the murder of abortion providers (and believes that abortion causes droughts in California). Research, history, and lived experiences tell us there is no such thing as ‘no abortion’ – only safe and unsafe. It’s not possible to make abortion illegal and not enforce the law without punishment. That’s not how laws work. You either want people to be able to have access to safe care, or you want them to go to jail for obtaining an abortion, or worse, die trying.

You’ve reminded us the importance of fighting together against White supremacy and patriarchy (words I know you don’t understand). There are movements and resistance growing. NARAL Pro-Choice America’s hashtag #WontBePunished illustrates just how many of us are fired up and fighting back. Your existence proves that our quest for racial justice, sexual and reproductive freedom, joy and pleasure is still a revolutionary act. Most importantly, you’ve reminded us why all of our social justice movements must get in formation…after we’ve gone to Red Lobster, of course.

Unapologetically thankful for my abortion,
Renee Bracey Sherman
@RBraceySherman (included because Twitter seems to be your favorite form of diplomatic communication)

P.S. Democrats, lest you think you walk away scot-free, Mr. Drumpf’s comments are exactly why you must #AskAboutAbortion during debates. We cannot continue to allow anti-choice politicians to define the conversation about abortion through shame and ideology. We cannot allow them to peddle abortion stigma as policy. We must hear your vision for reproductive freedom in which people who need abortions (and birth control, pap smears, STD testing, pre-natal care, etc.) are able to access them, free from financial strife, coercion, political interference, and violence. We’ve heard the Republicans dreary vision for the future – what’s yours?

Header image via.

Renee Bracey Sherman is a reproductive justice activist, board member at NARAL Pro-Choice America, and unapologetic about her abortion.

Renee Bracey Sherman is a public abortion storyteller, a writer with Echoing Ida, and is thankful, every single day, for the love and care of her abortion provider.

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