It’s been a long but productive week for women’s healthcare in the New Mexico Legislature so we thought we’d celebrate with a song. With your support, the late-term abortion ban, SB 183 has perished in committee for another year, and both the pregnant worker protection bill, HB 179, and HB 284, the contraception coverage bill, move on to the Judiciary committee. Yeah!
We’ll admit it’s not easy to find a catchy tune you can dance to that’s in favor of a woman’s right to healthcare and a safe and legal abortion. Go ahead, give it a shot. We’ll wait . . .
Oh, here it is! Remember the emo-nerd-jazz alternative hip-hop trio Digable Planets? During the angst-ridden times that were the 90s, Digable Planets were cool, laid back, and their songs were ahead of their time. The trio had one chart-topping hit you might remember from 1993 called the Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat):
On the same album, they penned an unassuming and deeply nuanced song called “Femme Fetal.” This song may appear to be your average B-side tune that never charted, but listen closely. “Femme Fetal,” is THE perfect tune about the decision to have an abortion that you’re never heard.
Hearing women’s stories during the testimony portion of SB 183, on Valentine’s Day, it became instantly clear that the decision to end a pregnancy is as unique as the individual making the choice. On both sides of the aisle shared compelling stories and no two abortion stories are alike.
The story that unfolds in the Digable Planets tune begins not unlike a testimony with a young woman named Nikki who tells her story to an attentive friend:
Nikki goes on the explain why she’s made the decision to terminate the pregnancy:
Economic hardship remains a factor in the decision to end a pregnancy for some women. According to this Think Progress article it’s not only the financial hurdle to cover the cost of an abortion, but restrictions to access force many women to cross state lines for a safe and legal abortion — a fact that we are all too familiar with here in New Mexico. There are a handful of clinics that conduct abortions in the state, and they are in northern New Mexico. Not only that there is the constant threat to restrict abortion, forcing many clinics in neighboring states to close their doors, leaving a journey to Albuquerque the only option. This narrative can be heard in nearly every state in the union, prompting us to return to the same powerful truth:
Nikki’s story at this point morphs into a tale of the “Everywoman,” where gender inequality and the right to make the decision to have an abortion is taken out of women’s hands. The song seems to predict a dystopian future of Roe v. Wade and the truth: abortion will not come to an end with the overturning of any law. Women WILL find a way:
Before you get too depressed about the future of reproductive health, Digable Planets reminds us we must make our decision to “get off our asses,” and make our decisions without shame:
Now that you know the lyrics to the best song about abortion you’re never heard, give a listen:
[READ MORE stories about a woman’s right to make a decision about her healthcare.]
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