Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thank you Wendy Davis

You already know who she is right now. The senator who spoke for a monumental 10 hours and 45 minutes to prevent a law that would severely restrict women's access to abortion in Texas. The liberal press (and wikipedia) are calling her "The LeBron James of filibustering" and, whilst the war to keep nasty misogynistic little bastards out of women's rights to their own bodies isn't won, a battle has been hard (and publicly) won. Thank you Wendy, and the women around the world on social media who stood with her.
Rejoicing as the vote is blocked. Photo: the guardian

There's not a lot of searing social commentary I can add to this that isn't all over the internet, but I felt it needed mentioned. Like a lot of people, I've needed to access family planning services. Usually, that access is casual, friendly and in the form of a three-month prescription pick-up (and don't I thank medical science that that's an option). Sometimes, though, it's been more frantic, more tearstained. Each time I've walked through the doors of a family planning centre, I've been greeted by the most sympathetic, caring women who've listened to my tale of woe with no raised eyebrows, no judgement, no hate. They've checked me out and given me tissues. They've held my hand and given me hope at times when it felt like life would never be the same again.

Speaking truth to power for nearly half a goddamn day

Until you've been in the middle of that sheer, gut-twisting panic (and I can only imagine how few white, middle-aged and middle-class male Republican senators have) you can't really understand how it feels to know that help is there. Not just any help, but safe, clean, knowledgeable and non-judgemental help. Help that won't shun you or phone your parents. Help that won't call you a whore. Help that will actually move you forward, whether that's in the short-term glow of the test result you were hoping for, or the longer-term help of whatever treatment, prescription or further action that might be needed to move you past that terrifying intersection you find yourself at.

Family planning, and the right for access to legal, medical procedures, is a fundamental part of a civilized society and one that I am eternally grateful that I have. That we still have to fight like this to hang on to this basic right sickens me, but I'm given hope that there are strong men and women across the governments and clinics of the world taking on the struggle.

New Zealand family planning:
UK Family Planning Association:

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