The scarlet letters of this authentic suffrage poster read, “A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote Thereby Assuming Responsibility Of Citizenship.” Because that’s what voting is, a responsibility of citizenship.
Whether or not the makers of this poster (which also appeared with blue lettering) intended to draw references to Hawthorne’s work or simply skimped on one-color ink printing, there’s resonating poetry here.
Even Especially today.
We women and men who understand the realities of the issues need to exercise our responsibility to vote and help others access their right to vote. And we need to know the facts, share the facts.
Fact: Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition and ought not carry financial penalties for individuals and entire families.
Fact: Access to health care and, yes, even abortions, are constitutional rights — access to a clinic should be as easy as access to a church or other religious institution, not thwarted by acts of tolerated domestic terrorism.
Only twelve percent (12%) of US counties have an abortion provider. You read that right. (When I tell another woman who considers herself informed that very figure, it invariably leaves her agape and amazed. See, we aren’t paying attention, sad to say.) But 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in her life. Think about that. Then do the math. This isn’t about luxury. This isn’t about some rare procedure that a woman can get if she really puts her mind to it or has the money. This is something 1 in 3 women feel they must do, and will do, at any cost. So, rich women will travel. Poor women will die.
Talk about literally killing the middle class.
We cannot be meek; “the meek don’t make it.”
We need to be loud.
We need to be angry.
“Angry,” that’s just another thing “A” is for, like autonomy, allegiance — and action.
I just donated and can’t wait to wear this scarlet letter proudly.