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The Men Who Ruin Us
Matthew Kacsmaryk's ruling was misogynist payback
Tonight, a judge ruled that a drug that’s safely ended pregnancies for over twenty years should no longer be available—not just in anti-abortion states, but everywhere. We knew the ruling was coming, just as we did when Roe was overturned. As was the case then, foreknowledge doesn’t make the moment any easier.
There’s no real way to prepare for the feeling of despair that rises in your body as you’re reminded, once again, that you’re no longer a full citizen in your own country.
I want to be useful, and smart. I could write about how this decision lays bare the lie of ‘states’ rights’, or how a singular activist judge being able to wave away decades of science and progress is a sign of our decaying democracy. I could write out the ways that the FDA could respond, or what the Biden administration should say and do. But others will do a better job of all that. Besides, that’s not at all what’s on my mind.
What’s weighing on me—almost literally, my head and body feel heavy—is the look on my 12 year-old daughter's face each and every time I have to tell her another piece of bad news about women. But it’s not just her face I keep seeing. It’s the looks on the faces of the men who are ruining us.
Donald Trump. Brett Kavanaugh. Matthew Kacsmaryk. Smug and assured, ignorant and shameless. Somehow we’ve ended up with the dregs of humanity robbing us of our own.
What makes this all so much worse is that men like these actually do think they know better than we do. In spite of their absolute mediocrity and near-unbelievable idiocy, these men truly believe they are the ones best suited to make decisions about our bodies and futures.
Kacsmaryk, with his self-satisfied smirk and Proud Boy haircut, is just the latest in a long line of men brimming with misogyny and undeserved power. Men like him have existed forever and they continue to be everywhere.
A few weeks ago, I watched a Tennessee Republican proudly declare that the state’s abortion ban will “protect the lives of babies,” and that “if we can protect the lives of mothers, we’re going to do that as much as possible.” This from a man so dense that in the very same speech, he said that babies grow in women’s “bellies.” That’s who is telling our daughters what they can and can’t do with their bodies and lives. The guy who talks about pregnancy like a fucking toddler.
We all know men like this: ridiculous and cruel, convinced of their own superior intelligence against all evidence to the contrary. But instead of simply being the biggest asshole in class or the former boss we recall while grimacing, they’re the judges, politicians and lobbyists who get to decide our futures. It’s humiliating, really.
It’s not a coincidence that these truly awful men have targeted abortion medication, specifically. Our ability to end a pregnancy with just a few pills—safely, privately, at home and without shame—was too much for them to take. At least when we went to clinics they could stand outside and call us ‘sluts’. Abortion medication robbed the men who hate us of their most treasured birthright: The ability to degrade women who do things they don’t like.
Abortion pills also made it that much harder for men to claim that abortion is a risky, tragic surgery. While surgical abortion is safe—there are more risks associated with getting your wisdom teeth removed—conservatives successfully spread misinformation and scare tactics about the procedure for years. Abortion medication poked that strategy full of holes. After all, it’s tough to paint abortion as dangerous when someone can do it while home on the couch watching Netflix.
And that’s the rub: Our progress infuriates these men. And anything that eases our suffering or improves our lives makes them hate us exponentially more. How dare we have the ability to end our pregnancies with a pill. They’ll show us.
And they did. They have. That doesn’t mean it’s over, it’s most certainly not. We’ll fight the next fight, and gather ourselves for another day. But for now, I’m allowing myself a night of despair and anger. I’ll fume over the faces of the men who ruin us, memorizing their sneers tonight to use as fuel for the battle tomorrow.