Dear Governor Stitt: Do You Know What It’s Like to Have a Female Body?

Sarah Graalman
The Shadow
4 min readApr 22, 2022

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Why does Oklahoma’s Governor and its legislature want to keep women from protecting their own bodies?

Dear Governor Stitt & the Legislature of Oklahoma:

Since you have legislated against the bodies of women with SB 612, you must have deep insight into what it’s like to have a female body. I’m therefor hopeful each of you could answer some questions, seeing as there’s no grace for the abused, assaulted, or raped. Nor do you choose to look into the nuance or reality of the impoverished, who suffer the most when these abortion laws are passed.

What was it like, in the fearful silence of your car, as you drove your best friend to Planned Parenthood after she was raped by that guy? Was she crying, or had grief and shame forced her into silence? Were you that friend being driven, and when it happened, did your mind repeat on loop ‘this can’t be me this can’t be happening? Did he shame you, calling you names until you complied? What about that boy who vanished after sex? Were you ever coerced into sex, praying you stayed safe? Did he slip his condom off without telling you? Or, did he force himself on you while you were drunk, or asleep? When he forced himself on you, was the only solace knowing that ‘if I make it to tomorrow, at least I can get an abortion?’ What was it like, growing up below the poverty line? Did your family teach you about family planning? Do you know the reality of living poor as a female in this country?

I’d love to hear your answers, given you each seem to know personally what it’s like to have any of the above experiences happen to you. Most women I know can align themselves with at least three or more of the above scenarios, so you must as well! Or, is it something more sinister.

Your ‘yay’ vote to SB 612 whisper-shouts that women are second-class citizens and should suffer for it. It’s puzzling why any government body whose first and strongest ingredient is ‘male’ (only 21% are female, which makes non-male bodies a parsley garnish in your state-house) would choose to legislate our bodies? No, I don’t need to hear that you have a wife or daughter so you “support women”. Support women because we are 51% of the population. Support women because we are equal, and understand very well what it is like to have our baby-making bodies.

Governor Still, who was against mask mandates, slipping his mask down. He thinks abortion should be illegal

Abortion has been my right my entire life, which made me feel safe as a young woman, growing up in Oklahoma. I knew if something bad happened to me, I’d have a place to go. I’m not sure if you grew up with the constant thought or threat of something “bad” happening to your body — but knowing your government trusted you to make the right decisions for yourself certainly helped. Now that’s being taken away, by you all. I’ll point out, again, that 79% of you are male.

Our right, and ability to make reproductive decisions is the one right we have in a world where our bodies are most at risk. I hear rebuttals too often, where I’m told ‘the number of women who seek abortions after rape isn’t that high.’ People who love statistics often forget unreported rapes and assaults — of which I’m one. I know a shockingly high number of rape, assault, and abuse victims all unreported. We report our assaults to other victims, once we feel safe. My ability to be honest came ten years later. I wonder why we’ve always felt unsafe to report our situations? Look at the make-up of your house? Look at the growing ‘bill hostility’ towards women, and it’s clear as shriek in the night-sky: Because we are doubly unsafe. Unsafe from assault, and are now more unsafe by the hands of our state governments — with the Supreme Court idling a nightmare in the wings.

Our bodies are talked about and have been treated like they aren’t even ours throughout history. As though we need pasty overlords to decide what is correct for us, even though we are dealt a hand a majority of men will never be forced to grapple with. You barter over our bodies when we’re the only one’s protecting them. I wish I could stand in front of each of you, and ask “Since your governance over my body is so personal, I’m curious — when your body was violated, where did you go? Who did you turn to? How did you heal? How heavy has your shame been? Does it ever wake you in the middle of the night? Does it follow you, whispering in your ear that you’re not worthy?”

I will wait for my answer, while these heartbreaking laws fall into place. I’m on the correct side of history, because all it wants is for women to be free, to heal, and to have choices. You prefer us to be silent and suffering, but we’ve already done that for too many centuries.

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