Domestic terrorism doesn’t get talked about a lot. Maybe because we like to think it doesn’t happen? Maybe because it’s easier to fear an enemy you can recognize: one with darker skin and a turban.
But it happens every day in this country, and every woman is a victim.
Sure, to some extent I fear walking down into a metro station and having it explode around my ears, or walking into the wrong building at the wrong time. But you know what I fear more? The acts of terrorism I can’t see, and the ones my government not only won’t stop, but actively supports.
According to the FBI's Terrorist Research and Analytical Center, domestic terrorism is "the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
The attempt to coerce a segment of the population, namely women, to not seek a potentially-life saving, legal medical procedure, because of religious beliefs, using the force of Congressional power and legislation, is an act of terrorism. And not only is no one stopping it, the Republicans are actively engaging in and encouraging it.
Every time a “lone activist” firebombs a pro-choice Senator’s office door, or kills an abortion provider, or pickets a Planned Parenthood clinic, or tells me Jesus loves me, even though she thinks I’m a whore for getting an annual preventive screening exam, they are all working in concert toward a larger, more violent and hateful agenda.
An agenda that marginalizes women and makes their bodies property of the state, and their lives an afterthought to the professed religious ranting of right-wing Christian extremists.
The fact that we are forced to have this discussion, over and over again, is testament to the fact that women are not, and never have been, truly considered equals in this country. The very fact that our government condones this vicious, hostile attack against us every day – by individuals, by religious factions, by politicians – jeopardizes our health, our safety, our futures.
Whether you believe in abortion or not, the individual decision another makes is not yours, nor will it ever be.
Allowing access to abortion and birth control is not a personal affront to anyone’s religion, and any rhetoric that seeks to distort the truth and make a woman’s right to access and obtain health care a religious offense is a subtle yet diabolical attempt to undermine everyone’s right to exist as a free and autonomous individual.
We need to change the conversation. We need to let politicians and religious bigots and misogynists and the apathetic masses who really think my birth control personally offends them know that this discussion is over, and that this course of action against us is not okay.
You do not have the right to banter about my rights as if they were just another set of disposable golf balls at your country club. My freedom, my health care and my rights are no longer up for debate.