It’s a concept most often applied to close personal relationships. You need to trust your family, partner, doctor, friends, auto mechanic, co-workers, etc.
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But what about when we think of trust on a larger scale—our
government, elected officials, and world leaders? We’re supposed to
trust them to protect us and make decisions in our best interests.
In America, we’re granted the freedom to make many personal
decisions. Because of this, we’re in essence saying that we trust our
fellow Americans to carry out their actions in a careful and harmless
manner. Be it with their gun ownership, raising children, public
However, it’s become increasingly clear that some members of our
society and even our elected officials don’t trust certain groups of
people—be it based on race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or
Women, over half of the US population, certainly don’t seem to be trusted. Sure, it’s better than it was…we’re now trusted to work outside the home, vote, drive a car, and start a business.
But when it comes to the most deeply personal of actions, we don’t
trust women to take care of themselves. We don’t trust them to make
their own decisions regarding their bodies, health, and reproductive
Men’s reproductive systems are completely left alone—we trust them to make their own decisions about sex, health, vasectomies, and cancer prevention.
But women…oh, no. They’re a different story. We must regulate every
aspect of the reproductive health—from birth control to pregnancy to
cancer screenings. Because they, clearly, cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves.
They couldn’t possibly decide when to have sex, when to have
children, or how to protect themselves. They wouldn’t take these things
What? If we can’t trust women to take care of their
most critical health needs, how are we even trusting them to be in
public and function in society? They must be so irrational, frail, and
unintelligent—how do we even allow them outside the home?
Despite how damaging it is for anyone to harbor this
opinion, the problem is that it’s not just normal individuals—many
elected officials don’t trust women, and are constantly working to pass
laws that restrict our ability to make personal, private medical
Though it’s doubly devastating for a woman public official to work
against women’s health choices, the current problem is that we don’t
have enough women in our government. A pitiful 17% of Congress is women. Some states have never even seen a female Governor or Senator.
I promise you that if we had more women in government, a woman’s right to make her own health decisions wouldn’t even be up for discussion. We could focus on things like the economy, environment, and national security, instead of what a woman does with her doctor.
This is why in addition to fighting the ridiculous legislation
coming at us from anti-choice, anti-women officials, we also have to
work to elect more pro-choice women, immediately. (First step: Getting more women thinking about running for office). This will be the only permanent way to end the vicious attacks on women’s reproductive freedoms.
We have to start trusting women. Trust them to choose, trust them to run, and trust them to lead. Or we may never see the day when our personal health decisions are truly our own.