Smear Campaign: @LizzWinstead’s #Tour4PP
In June of 2011, I joined the front lines of this war on women. That year a lot of dovetailing started happening between the news and my own life. About halfway through writing my book, I began an essay about my abortion. I was writing about being an unwitting pregnant 17-year-old girl, who, in an attempt at getting some guidance, fell prey to a deceiving bus ad and wound up at one of those fake health clinics called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or “CPCs.”
I was writing about 1978, so why did it feel like I was writing about 2011? As I kept writing about something that happened 33 years earlier, the stories I was seeing on the news made it seem as if time stood still.
Modern day CPC’s were still using the same harmful rhetoric to terrify young women. All I could think was, “How are they are still allowed to blatantly lie about the link between breast cancer and abortion? How can they still insist you could suffer grave mental illness if you have an abortion?” Especially because science has settled these things once and for all.
So there I was, more than three decades after I had been subjected to such ugly manipulation, and legislators were rewarding CPCs by shifting TAX DOLLARS away from Planned Parenthood to fund these LIARS.
Remember 2011? The financial sector was near collapse, foreclosures were destroying neighborhoods, unemployment was skyrocketing and the earth was melting like Katherine Helmond’s face in ‘Brazil’.
Surprisingly, none of these catastrophes were what our politicians talked about. The relentless political investment they were making was to define Planned Parenthood public enemy number one.
I was stunned, because every woman I knew had used them for everything from pap smears to birth control. Stunned that the language they used to describe Planned Parenthood was laced with the same vitriolic organ juice used to make the smell of asparagus pee.
What freaked me out the most, though, was these extremists seemed emboldened with some imaginary mandate. They behaved as though they had been given carte blanche to legislate every part of a woman’s body.
It all came to a head when they became so power mad that they dared to drag our bedrooms into our boss’s office by attempting to ban birth control from employer insurance plans.
You may ask, “How was that received Lizz?” Well, friend, many of us were not psyched.
And the shits just kept on coming. To open up the discussion, a congressional committee assembled an all-male panel made up of Catholic Bishops and other religious types of the non-uteriety to argue that somehow their constitutional rights were being violated because women are offered birth control in health insurance plans.
This “vagina-free” zone did not go unnoticed. The only thing missing was the chastity belts and a reading from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
Women frantically took to Facebook and Twitter with outrage- “liking” and re-tweeting everything that called out these assholes, all the while being called sluts and whores.
To this day, if you hold a shell up to your ear, you can still hear someone calling me a whore.
The good thing about this stunt was that it revealed none of this was ever really about abortion, it was about control. This revelation enlisted a whole new group of fighters in this war on women.
Women who had been shamed at the hands of women impersonating doctors at crisis pregnancy centers.
Women who were humiliated because they were poor and need affordable health care.
Women who had been made to feel guilty because they enjoy sex.
Women who felt stigmatized because they got pregnant.
Women who had abortions and think it’s nobody’s fucking business.
I am one of those women.
I knew I needed to add my voice to this fight in a much bigger way.
The tour was to raise money for Planned Parenthood, but also to show all of these women that there are a lot of us out there. We are each other and we have each other’s backs.
And lastly, to show that you and your friends can make a difference when you mix your outrage, love and friendship together, then turn it into a plan.
It will change your life.