Women’s bodies have always been have always been the focal point of patriarchy. Liberals and conservatives alike have both worked to ensure women don’t have bodily autonomy. As a result of patriarchy, women’s knowledge of and control over their own bodies has been wrested from us. We are forced to depend on male legislators, a male-dominated medical establishment, and Big Pharma, and woman-centered knowledge and practices, like self-abortion, menstrual extraction, other alternative forms of birth control, and woman-centered birth practices, are no longer common knowledge. While feminism has fought for women’s reproductive rights — for access to things like abortion and the pill — Mary Lou Singleton says we need to look beyond rights, and towards sovereignty.
Mary Lou is a midwife, nurse practitioner, reproductive sovereignty activist, and founder of Personhood for Women. I had the pleasure of watching her present at this year’s WoLF Fest, and spoke with her over the phone last week, from her home in New Mexico.