Repro Rights Roundup: December 11, 2017

Welcome to the Repro Rights Roundup! It’s been a hell of a week, so let’s get into it.

1. Unless you’ve been on a news-free island for the last few months (in which case, we envy you), you’ve probably been paying close attention to the unending parade of powerful men being accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and general creepiness. While the case of now-former Representative Trent Franks is not explicitly about choice or reproductive rights, we were so disturbed by it that we felt it warranted a mention here. To recap: Franks was accused of asking two female employees to be surrogate mothers for him and his wife. One of the women was offered $5 million dollars for her womb. And while the representative had originally planned to step down early next year, once it came to light that he may have meant to impregnate these women sexually, as opposed to using IVF, he resigned effective immediately this past Friday.
It’s tempting to cry Handmaid’s Tale every time something tries to chip away at our reproductive freedom, but it’s inaccurate. As long as women are not property and are allowed to read, we are still far away from Gilead. But the thing about this particular episode of Politicians Behaving Badly is that what Franks was after is a dead ringer for the Biblical story of Abraham, his infertile wife Sarah, and Sarah’s Egyptian servant Hagar that Margaret Atwood drew from to create the Handmaid class. We should also mention here that Franks was one of the most stridently anti-choice congressmen in the entire body. When you believe that women are wombs with legs, you are going to treat them as such. It is heartening, in a bleak kind of way, that our society still believes enough in the basic humanity of women that he was told in no uncertain terms that his actions were horrific. The more men like him are named and shamed, the more people will join us on the right side of history. Women deserve dignity and respect. Full stop. This fight will be long, but we are seeing a ripple slowly become a wave.

2. The anti-woman, anti-working class, anti-POC, anti-everyone but rich and preferably white people tax bill rambles on. You still have time to call your representatives, but act fast: the forces behind it want nothing more than to make it law by Christmas, and as we’ve seen, there’s nothing they won’t stoop to in order to make this nightmare real.

3. It was a big year for abortion on television. Check out this great slideshow about how abortion was portrayed on screen this year.

4. Good news from your humble rounder-upper’s home state of Virginia: Attorney General Mark Herring has joined the fight to protect women from the Trump administration’s rollback of the ACA’s employer-provided birth control requirement.

5. A Is For has teamed up with New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake for a holiday card that your right-minded friends and family are sure to love. Get yours today!

Thanks for joining us at the Roundup! We’ll see you next week.

Natalie Tyson is a contributor to A Is For. Natalie lives in Virginia, where she writes stuff, bakes stuff, and drinks a truly remarkable amount of seltzer water. You can't find her on any social media - it terrifies her - but she's glad you asked. She accepts tips.