It Takes Two to Tango
Big Picture / Religion / It Takes Two to Tango
Have you noticed that amidst the daily anti-abortion hue and cry, there has been a deafening silence on one aspect of this pivotal historical moment in our society?
What about the men? How are the men involved in this culture war?
What might the moral fairness and long term merits be if every biological mother/father duo was obligated to evenly share the parental and financial responsibility of a child from conception through age 21 (with certain exemptions)?
While facing mostly white privileged balding middle-aged evangelical Christian men, State Senator Sheila Boone of Kerrville, Texas, a long-time fighter for women’s freedom, liberty, and equal rights under the law, stepped up to the podium to begin her now historic filibuster against the “Texas Ban and Criminalization of Every Conceivable Kind of Abortion”.
“Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, honored guests in our chamber, the citizens of Texas, and the citizens of the United States,” she prefaced and then paused to scan the chamber on both sides, particularly the Republican side which was a sea of rolling eyes, snarky smirks and a body of disinterested (mostly male) Republican Senators scrolling their twitter feeds with heads down.
She picked up some sheets of paper and starting reading from them verbatim:
Texas House Resolution 3493
The Texas Child Support Amendment to the
Texas Ban and Criminalization of Every Conceivable Kind of Abortion Bill
The Hershel Walker’s Worst Nightmare Plan
Because of the no-exceptions ban on abortions and the criminalization of women seeking abortions and all accomplices to same,
The People of Texas propose the following supplemental legislation to be commonly know as,
It Takes Two to Tango
All independent, freethinking and moral women and men of the State of Texas.
The State of Texas has banned all abortions and has instituted criminal penalties on all women seeking abortions and their supporters to this action (family, friends, doctors, nurses, technicians, agencies, Uber drivers, et al), and
The totality of the intended and unintended consequences of this ban fall completely on the women who become pregnant — physically, emotionally, and financially — for the rest of their lives, and
It takes both a man and a woman to copulate and conceive a child, i.e.,
It Takes Two to Tango
(the Tango Duo),
It is established that the biological sex drive of Tango Duo is so strong during the prime years of fertility that by evolutionary design during a moment of passion, it is almost impossible to resist having sex, and
It is established that the Tango Duo Man is statistically bigger, stronger, hornier, meaner and more assertive and stubborn than the Tango Duo Woman, and…..
The senator from Midland, Texas abruptly interrupted.
“Mr. Speaker! Mr. Speaker!” he yelled.
“I object on the grounds that Ms. Boone is violating all the rules of filibuster and decorum as we have established them for many years.”
The Honorable Sheila Boone stood her ground, silent, standing tall, waiting for the Speaker to respond.
“Mr. Speaker, I demand that…”
The Speaker gaveled Senator Jordan “Shorty” Thompson to silence and motioned for Shorty to sit down.
“With all respect, Senator Thompson, if Mr. Cruz can read Green Eggs and Ham, Senator Boone can read and say what she wants – she has the floor.”
The Republican side of the aisle erupted in a chaos of “boos” and “bullshits” and other expletives.
“Silence!” the Speaker demanded, followed by one thundering blow of the gavel. “The next member that says bullshit will be removed from this chamber.”
The Speaker had a reputation for consistently following through with his rebukes, so the eruption subsided, men and women sat down, and it all cooled into a cluster of hardened, mean white evangelical privileged Christian Republican faces.
The Speaker turned to face Sheila Boone and said, “Please proceed, Ms. Boone.”
In that moment, every single person in the chamber looked down at their smartphone, thumbs poised to fire off hundreds of social media threads that streamed out at the speed of light across Houston, Texas, the United States and the world.
“Something’s going down!”
“Turn on your TV!”
“Boone’s blowing the place up!”
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker,” and she paused and locked eyes with as many faces as she could connect with. Then she resumed to read from her notes:
Statistically speaking, the Tango Duo Man’s biological drive to have sex has more influence and control over Tango Duo Woman to have sex in the moment of sexual passion, and
It has been well established that the Deadbeat Tango Duo Man that abandons a pregnant woman and assumes no physical, emotional, or financial accountability, and leaves the entire problem of a surprise or unwanted or unprepared or risky or violently forced pregnancy completely up to the woman to handle, and
The Old White Privileged Evangelical Texas Christian Men have banned and criminalized all abortions, effectively revoking a woman’s right to self-determination and the right to make her own decisions in this matter, and
All Deadbeat Biological Dads should have to step up and carry their fair share of the total costs of dealing with a surprise or unwanted or unprepared or risky or violently forced pregnancy, something women (and their families) have been left to deal with for as long as men and women having been having sex, then…..
Shorty Thompson rose out of his chair and said, “Mr. Speaker, this is bullshit!!”
The Speaker motioned to the Capital Police standing guard by the back chamber doors to escort Mr. Thompson out of the chamber, kicking and screaming while one, then two, and finally the entire Republican side of the aisle stood up yelling,
“Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!…..”
And then one-by-one, they all walked out of the chamber in protest.
The social media streams were red hot and bursting with astonishment, rage, and anticipation of Ms. Boone’s next move.
“History in the making!”
“The good ol’ boys have left the house!”
The Speaker shook his head and said, “Senator Boone, you have single-handedly precipitated an exodus of Texas political leadership that has never been witnessed before in my lifetime. I don’t know if this was your intention all along, but I caution you to not embarrass yourself or this chamber.”
“Mr. Speaker,” she responded, “all I wanted was for them to stay and politely listen to what I have to say. That’s all I’ve ever done for these cowboys during my tenure in the Senate.”
She paused, smiled a modest smile, and resumed reading from her notes:
In order to fairly balance the sharing of accountability between a Tango Duo Woman and Man, Texas House Resolution 3493 is hereby proposed as Supplemental Legislation to the Texas Anti-Abortion Act and upon date of passage by the Texas Legislature, shall be in effect immediately to require compliance with the following principles of accountability, fairness, equity, and law:
1. At the moment of conception, the biological Tango Duo Man becomes a legal guardian to the as-yet unborn child.
2. As guardian to the as-yet unborn child, Tango Duo Man is obligated to share all monthly costs with Tango Duo Woman of raising a child from conception through age 21; i.e., Comprehensive Child Support. During the term of the pregnancy, a Joint Custody Agreement will be negotiated by the Tango Duo and arbitrated by the appropriate local Judicial Court.
3. The monthly Child Support amount will be reset annually on January 1 by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services based on historical data on the base cost of raising a child, plus any extraordinary costs determined on a case-by-case basis.
4. The Tango Duo Man will be released from Child Support payments at any time up to when the child turns 21, in the event:
– The Tango Duo Woman and Tango Duo Man get married (NOTE: If the Tango Duo Woman marries someone else, the Joint Custody Agreement will be renegotiated under supervision by the Court); or
– The child is adopted or dies, or
– If either of the Tango Duo assumes sole custody of the child under a mutually-acceptable agreement, then the other party is released from any further legal parental and financial responsibility.
5. As long as the Tango Duo are contractually bound by this legislation, typical laws, protocols and procedures established in the courts for Child Support and/or Custody will be followed. If the Tango Duo Man defaults on his obligated Child Support, he is subject to fines and/or jail at the discretion of the Court, but consistent with precedent for typical and reasonable child support payments mandated by a divorce settlement.
6. Should at some future time Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 is restored by the U.S. Supreme Court which rules that the Constitution of the United States confers the right to have an abortion, the State may choose to either (a) maintain the It Takes Two to Tango law; or (b) immediately terminate Texas House Resolution 3493.
“Who the hell does she think she is?”
“That is insanity!”
“What a bitch!”
“Pray for her!”
She took a long pause to take a drink of water and scanned the empty seats on the Republican side, and then the packed house of Democrats on the other side who were all transfixed on her every word and gesture.
“My dear friends, I wish our Republican colleagues would have stayed and listened to our side of the story, since they are preparing to take their side of the story and jam it down our throats.”
The remaining people in the Chamber, every single one of them, stood up in thunderous applause for Sheila Boone.
“Sheila! Sheila! Sheila! Sheila!…”
“She doesn’t need or want your prayers!”
“Real justice and equality for women!”
“Boone for President!”
The Speaker chose to do nothing since the good ol’ boys (and girls) had left the house in a big harrumph. He just let it run until Boone motioned the Chamber to be quiet and sit down.
“Thank you,” she said. “But words are just words, just like green eggs and ham.”
A crescendo of laughter lifted the crowd up and out of their seats after a very tense filibuster episode. The crowd finally quieted and sat back down.
“But, are these words just any words? I think not. Admittedly, I just read to you a fictional proposed amendment to the good ol’ boys and girls total ban on abortion.
“But, how fictional should it be? In the face of an unspeakable usurpation of women’s individual liberty and self-determination, would this amendment not mean the leveling of the scales of justice and equality between men and women in response to what they are doing”
One woman stood up silently with her fist in the air, then a man to her right did the same, then another, and another, until the entire remaining chamber showed its silent and sober solidarity for all the world to see.
Sheila Boone raised her fist and then said, “Ladies and gentlemen, can we not once and for all be honest with each other?
“In this anti-abortion moment, have you heard anybody say anything about the men? The answer is no, not a peep. The men are all hiding in the closet hoping nobody notices.
“Let’s face it, nothing happens in the world of making babies until a man ejaculates in the vagina of a woman.
“And birth control is absolutely easy to get and cheap and effective for men, but men don’t want to do that and they don’t have a clue how difficult it is when they dump the responsibility for birth control to the woman.
“Men need to finally be made accountable.
“If women can’t walk out on pregnancy, neither should men.
“And, if a woman dies because she was denied a life-saving abortion, who should be made accountable for involuntary manslaughter? Doctors? Politicians? Governors? Judges?
“Men have been getting a free walk from the consequences of sex for all of history.
“That has got to change.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we know what we have to do. We’ve been waking up men to the reality of things forever, and we’ve succeeded in many important ways, so let’s go do this.”
She gathered her notes and turned to the Speaker.
“Mr. Speaker, I yield back my time.”
Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair
Abortion and the Law in America by Mary Ziegler
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 by Leslie J. Reagan
Happening by Annie Ernaux