Unforced Error - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2018117

Unforced Error

I’m grateful that Bridget Fleming was a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit. Years ago, that office was my lifeline to judicial equality and personal reempowerment when my date didn’t take “no” for an answer and, to feel better, forced himself on me.

Newly promoted at an investment banking firm, I reveled in the promise of my capability. Yet, here I lay, fighting a bully for my life, confounded by unexpected cruelty, immobilized by shock and incongruity. “This can’t be happening!”

My disbelief jeopardized my self-defense. It dawned on me that I might die. As my assailant violently suppressed me, I looked into his eyes and saw no one there. A psychotic break. I couldn’t reason, plea or appeal to any sense of common humanity.

Finally, I screamed for help. Luckily, neighbors arrived in time.

The way I felt then reminds me of now.

Never did I imagine that the Supreme Court would rescind our constitutional right to reproductive choice. Deprivation of personal autonomy is slavery. Forced birth is slavery. Forced birth hijacks our authority and our relationship with God. It assumes that the prerogative to grant the gift of life — itself, a lifelong commitment — somehow resides outside of us. No.

Forced birth impoverishes our educational and career potential, deprives the economy of our maximum productivity and our children of positive role models. It reduces our life expectancy. It criminalizes us, and only us, for the act of love. We no longer receive equal, unhindered health care. Our HIPAA privacy is compromised. Our internet activity will be monitored, our interstate travel regulated, our terminal pregnancies hunted for bounty.

Overturning Roe v. Wade is an unforced error that must please our enemies. It burdens our country, women, families, doctors, health care workers, employers and legislators with unnecessary hardship, and distracts national attention from more difficult matters.

A woman who misses her period shouldn’t have to go on the lam. Health care professionals shouldn’t have to lawyer up. In a world teeming with 7.8 billion humans, educating women and providing reproductive freedom is the surest way to alleviate the stresses of climate change, overpopulation and diminishing resources.

If you think, “Not my trigger state, not my problem,” think again. Now emboldened, the Republican agenda is coming for you: your freedoms of speech, voting, education, contraception, LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, access to books and fact-based reality.

There’s a thin blue line protecting us. Electing Democrats is the best way to strengthen our defense. Making the world safe for democracy begins at home.

To those who would bind my freedom and gag my sisters, I say, “No!” You’ve galvanized us to powerful demonstration.

See you November 8.

Adele Kristiansson

Water Mill