Here in Kentucky our GOP controlled legislature made passing what they call “Right to Work” legislation its priority. It is such a priority that they made it HB1 – the first bill to be addressed by the House of Representatives in the 2017 session. This legislation, from a liberal perspective, is a move toward edging out the union influence and the power of collective bargaining in the blue-collar workforce. I’m aligned with those who oppose this legislation, but have an issue with what is going on on Frankfort today from a female perspective.
The call went out for protesters to come literally make their voices heard in the capitol this morning. The Kentucky Democratic Party even reserved the rotunda so protesters could be inside out of the weather. The pictures of the rotunda I’ve seen this morning show a LOT of union folks there to protest HB1. That’s fantastic that they’ve turned out… However, there are very few or no obvious folks there in opposition to HB2 (requiring a woman to have an ultrasound prior to pregnancy termination). This frustrates me.
Yes, I seem to be a hypocrite as I sit here in my warm office space listening to NPR and my dogs snoring while I read media reports from Frankfort rather than schlepping it to Frankfort first thing this morning to protest in person. It wasn’t public fact that legislators would be meeting today, Saturday, until very late in the day Friday. This caused a lot of scrambling by the folks in opposition to the issues in question which seems to have been at least the partial GOP intent of holding sessions on Saturday. I didn’t learn of today’s sessions until almost 6pm yesterday. Whether traveling last night or early this morning to make it to Frankfort by 8:30am I would have been traveling in the dark on roads still damp in spots from our snow – in single digit temperatures. This is not a trip I would take unless for emergency purposes or a well-planned trip.
We ladies of eastern Kentucky have no one in Frankfort who has our back… Who is willing to risk losing votes because people are ill-educated as to the intent of these bills… Those folks who hear the word abortion and tune out anything else with a resounding cry of, “I’m agin’ it!” A person who has her own uterus is entitled to her own opinion as to whether or not pregnancy termination is an option for HER and only HER. No one else. If you don’t have a uterus, you have no dog in this fight at all.
I know of a few women in the region who are brave enough to voice their support of reproductive rights, but not many. We have to stop being shamed into silence. We have to speak up. We have to refuse to let the rights our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts worked so hard for in previous decades simply go quietly into that dark night.