So true. I listened to how corporations are 'stepping up' to ensure safe access to abortion for their staff. One commentator remarked that they should ensure safe access to pregnancy and childcare at the same time--that would be more laudatory. It's maddening to continue to beat on single issues--which are vitally important--but deny their connection to all that oppresses, especially women of color.

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Yes, I have no IDEA how they're going to figure out how keep a straight face while paying for safe abortion care/travel for their employees (needed!) while also having horrible maternity, parent and childcare policies/culture (ALSO NEEDED!)

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Oh Meg, how I relate to so much of this. I'm Irish and we had feminist theory classes when I was in college in Dublin in the early 1990's. Many of these were centered on "writing the body" and developing a new language for women. Nothing wrong with either thing, I guess. Except in early 1990's Ireland, gay sex was illegal, you could only buy birth control (yes, even condoms) from a pharmacy, and abortion was illegal, with no exceptions. I felt at the time that there were surely bigger, more urgent battles that needed to be fought. Never mind that there was no concept at all of intersectionality. I'm forever grateful to a grad student friend who pointed me to the work of bell hooks when I expressed my frustration about that.

When we finally had an abortion referendum here, in 2018 (four short years ago this month), what shifted the balance were decades of scandals about Mother and Baby homes, Magdalen Laundries, and mothers (and often their babies too) dying through medical neglect because doctors were too scared to intervene. Irish women knew the state doesn't care about children once they're born. Even my elderly, very Catholic, mother voted yes because she was devastated by the accumulated evidence of that lack of care.

And my heart breaks for those in the 20 U.S. states that will lose access to safe abortion as soon as Roe v Wade is overturned. It breaks too for the extremely high maternal mortality rates in the US, and the lack of any real social safety net. That shining city on a hill is looking pretty damn tarnished from my perspective across the Atlantic. All I can offer is love and support to my friends in the U.S. and a sincere hope that this too shall pass.

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Meg, you speak my heart.

Abortion is never a single issue. But those who insist it is are cruelly blind to the full reality of what women’s truly means, what human health means. Have not each of us a mother? The only way is your big table. “A room with a table big enough for everyone and platters piled high with natural abundance.”

Thank you for connecting these dots. They must be understood to move forward together to finally, learn how to grow healthy people as a shared fundamental of a society worth living in.

Ric Winstead

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