The Fight for Female Autonomy
It is understatement to describe the political climate of our nation as “polarizing.” How can it be in a nation that proclaims “freedom for all” constantly sways back and forth from granting liberty and then repressing it? Last week, one state passed a law furthering women’s rights, while another chose to set them back.
This past Friday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill that expands reproductive healthcare services and abortion access, including to those who travel to Illinois from other states with trigger laws activated by the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Healthcare providers that have been sanctioned in other states are also protected by the bill based solely on the fact that they performed a medical procedure that is legal in Illinois, under which this includes other healthcare services such as gender-affirming treatments for transgender individuals.
Meanwhile, in our neighboring state of Missouri, the Show-Me State’s House has passed a dress code that specifically targets female members of the legislature. Their male counterparts, who hold more than two-thirds of the house seats, did not face any amendments to their dress code. Now, most workplaces, including the government, do implement dress codes. The Missouri House was no exception, already having dress codes in place. Yet it was only women who were affected by dress code changes.
We at Deratany & Kosner believe in the dignity of all people. Part of what is encompassed in that dignity is that we trust people to be capable of making their own decisions for their body. We do not stand for when that dignity is undermined. The Missouri House’s redefined dress code for women is a petty demonstration of the kind of mindsets that hold back social progress. Women are more than capable of judging what is acceptable workplace attire as much as they are capable of making personal healthcare decisions.
In the second week of 2023, one state secured autonomy for women in their healthcare decisions, while another state decided to restrict female legislators’ choice of clothing. The fact that parts of our nation will get hung up on the attire of women while larger issues such as healthcare access, housing crises, and police brutality continue to abound, is quite frankly humiliating to say the least. How long will it take the whole of our nation to realize this?