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Editorial

Mind over Matter: Controlling the Womb

By Dr. Brenda Wall

It’s more to it than abortion. Abortion has become the inflammatory debate in which everyone has had an opinion for the last generation.

The argument is almost predictable where you’re either right or wrong based on moral argument, health considerations or personal testimonies.

Yet, with the preview of the upcoming Supreme Court decision to terminate the almost 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision legalizing women’s reproductive rights, this particular legal precedent is not a mere return to the pre-Roe v. Wade era. It’s more to it than abortion.

There can be little glee when rapists have more power than mothers, when mortality rates of mothers predictably increase or even when the decision is made to deliver a stillborn fetus.

It may seem like such a victory of one side over the other with Alito’s draft opinion to overturn women’s Constitutional rights.

It is not. Whether you are a fervent adherent of pro-life or pro-choice in the way it has been framed for most of our lives, being caught up in that debate now clouds the far-reaching threat to freedoms at work right before our very eyes.

Power. Always power. And dare I say it, retaining the foundational origins of power enshrined in the United States Constitution for white men who owned property. It’s more to it than abortion. This will arguably be the most egregious decision since the Dred Scott decision which declared no African American had rights under the law.

We have been conditioned to embrace a binary moral passion over birth and death. However, there was once (in my lifetime) just as inflaming a debate before the era of Roe v Wade. Segregation.

I grew up in a time when racial apartheid was the law of the land; it was illegal to attend public schools (where the most tax dollars were spent) or be born in the nation’s segregated hospitals or be freely seated on public transportation.

It was the era when private academies sprang up overnight in order to avoid the intermingling of the races. It was also illegal to be gay, to marry interracially, drink water from public fountains and yes, get an abortion.

However, abortion was not the salient issue for the nation. Maintaining segregation was the country’s polarizing debate. Segregation fueled protest, water hoses and tumultuous sermons on separate but equal.

Religious leaders who preached separation of the races and Congressmen who voted segregation of public institutions galvanized the masses and solidified the country’s reactionary vote.

As long as the vote was controlled, culture would perpetuate the white vote. Whatever it took to frighten people into mobilization then, from the movie Birth of a Nation, shown in Woodrow Wilson’s White House, inspiring the rebirth of the Klan or Willie Horton’s sexual assault, which became the Republican fuel casting a threat to deified white womanhood and taking George H.W. Bush to the White House was the calculated message.

Power could operate best when the distraction of inflamed racial and sexual fears was at the forefront. White power meant that white sexual power and violence could function without restraint, challenge or consequence.

As long as secrecy and denial cloaked forced sexual acts, the voice of women could be disregarded. This truth flourished during enslavement and more recently in certain Supreme Court testimonies. Babies were profitable.

During the antebellum South, the economic value of the enslaved exceeded the invested value of all of the nation’s rail-roads, factories and banks combined. The economy of controlling the womb was indeed profitable. It still is.

If you control the womb, you control the vote and at the same time, you effectively diminish female agency.

Criminalizing sexual behavior as a tool of womb control, reinforces male dominance and increases the number of babies available for adoption and also for economic suppression.

This time, Alito’s proposed legal opinion would pave the way for additional repressive controls that take us all the way back to the authoritarian dominance of plantation politics.

Abortion is a tool to hide the efforts of corrupt men to regain political control by eliminating informed voices that vote.

No more sex for you.

Dr. Brenda Wall leads Reclaiming Mental Health for Women and Families at Friendship West Baptist Church, which is open to residents of the city of Dallas. Applications available!
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