Aren’t you tired of reading, watching and listening to the news? It seems every day for the past two years each day brings another proposed state, national or international law restricting reproductive choices. There are so many legislators who are willing to dictate medical practice and advice from their elected positions.
We have witnessed all-male panels discussing contraception insurance coverage, a Georgia state representative compare women to cows and pigs, and the governor of Mississippi saying he would like to see the state abortion free.
Then there are the bills and amendments to bills that have nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with attempting to outlaw abortion. For example:
- Michigan, where the rush to legislate abortion led the state senate’s judiciary committee “promptly passing onto the full Senate a restrictive and unclear anti-abortion measure — just 19 hours after announcing that the hearing would even be taking place.” This legislation is so unclear it could open up investigations for natural miscarriages, require funeral services for miscarriages as well as interfering in physician-patient relationships.
- Rand Paul’s attempt to add a personhood amendment onto the National Flood Program bill. Paul “offered an unrelated “fetal personhood” amendment, which would give legal protections to fetuses from the moment of fertilization…”
Not only that, the courts are deciding cases based upon incorrect, flawed or repeatedly debunked information. For example:
- Arizona, where the judge lectured Janet Crepps, a lawyer from the Center for Reproductive Rights, on “a lack of compassion for the unborn,” and where even a motion was filed to appoint a lawyer for the unborn.
- South Dakota, where the court has ruled doctors must tell patients they will be at higher risk for depression and suicide after an abortion. The fact the decision was based upon an anti-choice study published in 2009, criticized as so flawed the Journal of Psychiatric Research is planning to retract it, had no influence on the decision.
- The countless lawsuits being filed for “permission to discriminate against their employees by denying them insurance coverage of birth control,” including a heating and air conditioning business.
Several blogs have published articles on how tiring this all can be. And we still have months to go before the elections, when we can only hope legislators will get back to working on the very real problems facing the US economy. It feels to me like we have spent the past two years discussing nothing except reproductive choices and how to ban or control those choices. The political posturing and speeches are wearing me out.
I have come to the conclusion I am suffering from Outrage Fatigue. Part of the Urban Dictionary definition of Outrage Fatigue is, “the exhaustion and entropy that occurs from too much outrage. Occurs in waves, often during peak election cycles.” It lists synonyms as “burnout, apathy, caring deficit, weary and pooped out.” My attitude today correlates with the definition and synonyms.
Outrage Fatigue has been talked about for several years and particularly when politicians gear up for another election. The Onion even had an article in 2004 titled “Nation’s Liberals Suffering From Outrage Fatigue.”
What do we do to combat the overwhelming fatigue? How do we remain focused advocates for reproductive justice? Is burnout inevitable in an election year?
There have been several people who have addressed this very real problem with words of encouragement.
William W. Wexler established a website this July “to explore the phenomena and see if there is anything that we can do to reverse it.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin describes the activists’ “thousand-yard stare” because “they dread checking e-mail or Facebook out of fear of what they will find.” Their article gives several steps you can take to re-engage. Then they give this advice, “Keep up the fight, even when things look bleak. You never know who might be listening to you.”
Actually, I think I will take some of this advice to heart. First, I will take a little break from the news and read fiction instead, or maybe watch some movies, or walk in the park, or just do the things that bring me personal pleasure.
When I am recharged, I will recommit myself to actively doing what I can because I never know who is listening. Our words on this blog may inspire the next activist.
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