Women are gods. That’s why religious fundamentalists hate us
Every major religion on Earth is written and controlled by men.
That's because the weaker-willed sex is pre-programmed to distrust a god. Creating life, setting moral rules, changing the futures of those around them – all sounds a bit, well, female, don't you think?
And they can't have that. So thousands of years ago, men wrote the rules for what a god should be. Then they arose from an equal society, and said they should be able to buy and sell the godesses who lived and loved alongside them.
They waged wars and wrote laws which limited the behaviour of these everyday deities, but they could still never understand quite how we worked – why some had children and others didn't, and whether to worship or defile us.
When our many religions coalesced into a handful of faiths, the men demanded we cover our hair, because it was too lovely. We should cover our bodies, because we were too sexy. And we should give them control over our lives, because otherwise we'd upset the apple cart.
Not being the kind of gods who resort to fire and brimstone, we went along with this. We were physically weaker, and we were rendered legally and financially dependent.
But these religious men did not care for us as well as they promised to. And so over time women stood up, and said they'd had enough.
They marched, they starved, they voted, they survived. They said we'd like to be politicians, now, and write our own laws, and we'd like to be Queen or President without you having a civil war about it. We'd like to be whatever we want to be, and blimey isn't this fun and oh look, we're living longer.
And men said, this is militancy. This is feminism. This is anti-men. They said it made no sense, women weren't up to it, and when all else failed they said well, you're dirty girls.
Over time, scientists discovered that life did not begin at 'the quickening', when a woman first felt her baby move inside her. Instead a seed fertilised an egg, a woman nurtured it, and then made a new being who every man worried was more in love with her than with him.
And men said, you're doing it wrong.
Life starts when the baby is viable, they said. And science moved that line further and further into the woman's uterus. Life starts at the moment of conception, said men, because that's the last time we have anything to do with it and we're more like God than you.
Women argued about deformities, and incest, and rape, and disabilities, and the risks of pregnancy and childbirth even to the healthiest of women. They pointed out an embryo was not viable on its own, and women were not just vessels but guardians too. They won some concessions, which was jolly nice of the men, wasn't it?
Between 1950 and 1985 nearly all industrialised nations liberalised abortion laws, as well as other laws affecting women. Today, females in the Western world mostly have the right to run their own lives, while those in the developing world do not.
Religions will tell you it is a coincidence that women die earlier, with less education and food, and more violence, poverty and genital mutilation, in the developing world.
Women will tell you this is bollocks. The right to abortion, and the right to a better life, are the same thing.
But now a world superpower, which granted women privacy over their own wombs 46 years ago, is attempting to unpick it. In Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, and Georgia, states have voted to restrict, ban or criminalise abortion.
Those who voted for it were predominantly male, strongly religious, and as worried about the threats of feminism as they are sharia law. Unable to control a world they increasingly don't understand, they have strangled the nearest thing to hand – their daughters' cervix.
These men say that life starts with a heartbeat. And do you know, I agree. For I am one of the few women who saw her child just 7 weeks after conception. She was a little tail, attached to the lining of my womb, and as I watched the black void at one end flexed. In and out. In and out.
It was her heart. She was alive. I knew, at that point, I was a mum.
But these men lack two bits of information that all women have, whether they become mothers or not.
The first is that however you legislate, women can and will abort children anyway.
Their mysterious insides will spot unhealthy foetuses and weep them away. Their bodies may realise they cannot handle full-term childbirth, and so push them out early even though they may die. Occasionally, a woman will kill her own baby because of madness.
And if you restrict her ability to choose when or how to have a child – on her own or with a partner, jobless or with a career, too young or too old, healthy or with needs that she feels unable to fulfill – she will abort by travelling to a place where it is available, by self-harming, resorting to poisonous herbs or buying pills online that no doctor has prescribed.
You do not stop abortion by legislating against it, any more than you can stop the sun rising. You just replace the killing of foetuses with the killing of women AND foetuses. How's your God like them apples?
The second bit of information is that women who seek abortions are usually acting in the child's best interests.
There is a condition in pregnancy called anencephaly, when a baby's brain and spinal cord do not form properly. It happens in the first days of pregnancy, before most women even know they're pregnant, and before they start taking the folic acid which can stop the deformity.
I am at risk of this condition. I was taking folic acid for months before I conceived, just to be sure. But when I saw that fluttering heartbeat, and knew I was a mother, I also knew that I may have to kill her.
Anencephaly children usually die in the womb. Those children who have lived more than a few moments after birth do so in pain, and with insurmountable disabilities. I decided that, if her 3-month scan showed she had this problem, it was my job to protect her from that.
Thankfully, she was fine. That same instinct now watches her when she climbs, tells her to be careful, and cradles her when she falls. I could not imagine ever taking her life, however ill she became; but that is because it is physically more difficult. I can imagine begging a doctor to put her out of pain.
Those women who've discussed their abortions with me had them for a variety of reasons, but each decided it was best for the baby. They suffered themselves, physically and emotionally, to protect their child from what they felt was a greater harm.
And in that, they were gods. They created life and they took it away, for reasons that mattered to them but not always to others.
What the fundamentalists can't handle is that women once did this accidentally, so had to be controlled, and now they do it because they control themselves.
In the USA, those voting to return to the past understand ignorance better than enlightenment . They fear knowledge, and self-knowledge, as much as they fear the future. Whatever victories they think they have won, they are only temporary.
These are men, in short, who need to invent gods to tell them what to do. They need their government to supply them with Viagra, and a Supreme Court that they trust will rule in their favour when these state abortion laws are inevitably tried against the constitution. They are picking a fight with the gods they have, in order to pretend they have a better one.
They will never have a greater god than woman, who creates life and then thinks carefully about what to do with it. Who asks them to behave nicely, rather than ordering it, and tries to change their world for good instead of just for the hell of it.
They will never get a better god than us – sexy as hell, with fabulous hair, and wanting men to be our equals.
Let us pray that, one day, they will rise that high.
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