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Letter to the Editor: Abortion laws oppress women

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Historically, a patriarchal society used different forms of social control on women and their reproductive ability.

Cultural and legal means were adopted to perpetuate its continued rule. Any liberties allowed to women could not challenge the social order of that time. Believing that women were either too frail and needed protection or too inferior to work are two sides of the same coin of oppression and repression.

Women healers of the past were burnt on the stake as witches as they challenged the power of the church as the sole authority on body and soul. Over the centuries, the forms changed but the essence remained the same. Women had fought fiercely and unrelentingly for the vote, equal pay for the same work, the right to control one’s own body without legal interference, right to inherit property etc. The Equal Rights Amendment should remain a permanent document, never needing to be ratified.

Anti-abortion laws are fundamentally about the control of women. Legislators behaved as though women who wish to control their own bodies can never be concerned about the lives of babies or children. Pro-life or pro-choice is a toxic dichotomy. We should fight for pro-women to provide real support for them and their choices in caring for a family.

As a physician and a mother, I am outraged that the N.C. legislature would think that any physician would wantonly take the life of a baby born alive, even in the case of an initially failed abortion.

Capitalist social productive and reproductive system is based on patriarchy. It is fundamentally about the extraction of maximum surplus value from labor power. Humans are treated as commodities, to be discarded when surplus labor can no longer be extracted.

The many layers of exploitation of descendants of slaves and other peoples of color, of workers, of women, of elderly and disabled, of LGBTQ, all illustrate the ability of the system to isolate issues, build up specious arguments like dichotomies or language-spins or statistical manipulations to bamboozle and divide us and keep us from becoming a united force for radical positive change, to end the whole repressive machinery.

Unfortunately, there will always be a segment of the population who believe such lies and are easily manipulated to fight against their own interests. Some may come round as they become personally affected while the die-hards always give in to their prejudices.

Dr. Kim E. Koo

Rocky Mount

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