I See You

By Reagan Kaelle, TIWP Student

For those who are silent, I see you. For those who scoff at women in positions of power, and who look away when the protest signs are graphic or images or bloody hangers flash across the screen, I see you. I am all seeing, my eyes burn across the country and skip over plains and farms and cities and mountains and lakes and towns. My eyes do not cry tears because—more than feeling sad—I am angry. This is a women’s issue, but all the uteruses in America are being silenced and those who can speak are mute. I am scared. For now, in America, I am less than equal; the constitution says all men are created equal and motherf*cking Amy Coney Barrett took that to be literal. To be born into girlhood is to be born neck deep into violence. Don’t tell me I have to live a life drowning in it and never holding it. I am nothing but violence; my rage leaks into my sleep, my meals, my actions and my words. I am angry at the men who don’t speak out. Your mother, daughter, sister, and grandmother need you. I need you to fight for me. I see all of you and while my uterus is shackled, my vision is unimpaired. 

This can’t fade, my rage cannot pass like a tide or a storm. I refuse to let women across America with dreams, brains, hearts, and souls, and wombs be reduced to the tale of a handmaid; or worse, a cautionary statistic. Let us all remember the facts at hand: restricting access to abortions doesn’t lower the amount of abortions women get, it simply makes more of them lethal. My Dad asked why. I said because the beauty of pro-choice lies in the fact that one can choose. Even if Megan from Alabama doesn’t want to terminate her pregnancy, Grace across the street can make that choice for herself. Sally, two blocks down, can recover after an ectopic fetus sent her into septic shock and Maria, her neighbor, doesn’t have to carry the baby of her rapist. Because reality is scary. Because rape victims will be forced to have the baby of their rapists. Rapists who will get less jail time than anyone who aids and abets a woman in her efforts to secure reproductive healthcare. Rapist. Rapist. Rapist. It’s a scary word, but it is also a scary world. Because, Dad, my bodily autonomy should be assumed, not left up to the states. It shouldn’t be questioned, threatened or regulated and especially not by old white men.

Because AR-15s have less oversight than my 17-year-old reproductive organs and I am so damn tired of active shooter drills when I should be learning about geography.  Because when I ask how many more must die, I mean it. How many women will die from illegal procedural complications, suicide or untreated miscarriages? How many children will die? Bang. Bang. Bang. It’s a scary sound, but it’s a scary world. 

Reproductive rights are human rights. We’re running backwards careening into a history of oppression and gender wars. Leaning into a time where my inferiority is guaranteed and my comprehensive education is not as valuable as my womb. 

History is in the past for a reason, we were supposed to have moved on from it. We set the clocks back too far. We dug graves for women and five justices held the shovels. Why can’t five justices just move the f*ck on and get their feet off my neck. Freedom of religion was supposed to mean freedom from religion, too.

So I’ll wake up from my violent sleep, dust off my soap box, and stand atop it. I’ll yell and shout and fight tooth and nail because I am a woman and this is what I do. But know, I see you. I hear your silence across the country, next door, and at the dinner table and I condemn it for you are complicit in the loss of my rights. Thankfully, I’ll never lose my fight. 

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