Throughout my life I have been told that words have power. Although we might not always believe it, there are many cases in history that prove this to be fact. Case one: Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is still being analyzed and discussed in classes today. This speech sparked a movement for equality across the nation. On the other spectrum we have case two—Adolph Hitler. Hitler used his words to gain power, and he was able to convince an entire population that one race of people was basically the root of all evil. Again, his words and actions are still analyzed in classes of all levels. If we do not believe that our words can bring about change, why should anyone else? If we do not believe our simple words can make a change, why do we waste our breath?
As a feminist, I wish I could say the state of Indiana is making history and promoting equality and rights for everyone. Unfortunately, we are moving backward and repeating history. On March 24, 2016, Governor Mike Pence signed the newest abortion law (HB 1337). If you’re unfamiliar with the law, it has, what seems like, an infinite number of restrictions against abortions in Indiana. What legislators do not seem to understand is just because you restrict or ban abortions, does not mean they will not happen. Have you ever heard of back alley abortions? They are illegal, but a potential practice of an unsafe abortion.
This newest abortion law is meant to control women. Governor Pence is the same man who voted NO on paid parental leave for four weeks for federal employees. This is the same man who voted NO on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. His position is neutral when it comes to the death penalty. Although it may seem like it, this is not an Anti-Pence article. This is a callout of inconsistencies in our society, as well as a call to protect women’s rights. This law demands women to obey these people who claim to be pro-life, but they disagree with factors that will help these lives develop after their birth (welfare, insurance programs, etc.). Many of the people who enforce and support this law call themselves "pro-life," but they are not "pro-enforce-laws-that-will-help-this-new-life-flourish" (and then they also complain about these parents not being able to support their children). In a sense, they are demanding women to bear a child (that they don't want and may not be able to afford), but they refuse to help support it.
Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful times of a woman's life--if she wants the child. There are people in the United States who kill other people and they do not even spend nine months in jail. This is essentially what is happening when a woman is forced through pregnancy. She is a prisoner in her own body. This law lacks compassion for women. It can be understood that this law can help to control abortions that women may be having due to unsafe sex (which falls back to the lack of education, which is a whole separate issue), but nonetheless, no one should be entitled to a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. Her body is her concern.
If we want something done about this law, I suggest we do something about it. Attend the Rally for Women’s Rights on April 9th at the Indiana Statehouse or write to legislators—everything helps. Keep in mind, we need to have the confidence in what we say in order for it to mean something. We have to stop telling ourselves "What is meant to be will happen" because guess what? It's not going to happen unless we make it happen. We will be the catalyst in what happens, not timing, or hope, or all the prayers in the world. We the people are the only ones who can make a change. We need to stop pretending all is well in the world and stop sitting back while we wait for things to "figure themselves out." We've all been guilty of this at some point in our lives, I'm no exception. We need to start calling each other, and even ourselves, out on the fact that we are letting change slip through our fingers because we are too lazy or too bashful to do something. So here is my call to action, my demand for change not only in the world, but in ourselves. This is my call to bring a halt to complaints with no follow through and a movement to go forward into action. I can't do this by myself, though. Let's get out and do something.