How The ‘U-Word’ Exposes the Anti-Choice Movement
Amanda Marcotte writes:
Periodically in politics, there are events that create a dual reaction in all thinking people: 1) peals of laughter at the absurdity of it all and 2) the dreaded realization that many of our leaders are completely out of touch. Such was the dual reaction to the news that the Republican leadership of the Florida state legislature wishes to censor the word “uterus” from being said aloud in their chambers, in response to a Democrat making a joke about how his wife should incorporate her uterus if she wants to maintain her right to bodily autonomy. Obviously, the Republicans really just didn’t like the joke, which hit too close to home, and were looking for an excuse to condemn it. But the excuse was real life concern trolling, in the guise of claiming “uterus” was a dirty word, with a side helping of “think about the children!”
The internet responded with the requisite contempt to this censorship. The hashtag #uterus exploded, and the general sentiment was that people who can’t tolerate hearing the syllables you-ter-us spoken aloud should not be filing 18 separate bills aimed at snatching control of the organs away from the rightful owners. If you want to control something that badly, you should be able to say it out loud.
Among the “children” being invoked as a shield to protect anti-choice legislators from confronting their misogyny and hypocrisy were the congressional pages. I personally found this to be interesting, because pages are teenage kids. And teenagers are especially being targeted by anti-choicers, with parental notification laws and attempts to block sex education and contraception access. In other words, conservatives believe that a girl of 15, 16 or 17 is too young to hear the word “uterus,” but she’s plenty old enough to be forced to bear a child against her will. Which seems to bring up an interesting dilemma. How do Florida Republicans expect the young women who they would force to have babies to handle the prenatal care if they’re too young to hear the names of body parts spoken aloud? When a young woman is going through labor against her will, how do you shield her from the words and knowledge of what’s going on down there? Would they suggest we just sedate teenagers who are going through mandatory pregnancies throughout the process so their innocence isn’t destroyed by knowing what goes on during pregnancies they’re actually experiencing by government mandate?