WE MUST CONTINUE TO WORK FOR ABORTION RIGHTS TO GAIN REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM AND REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
After recent defeats, what can we expect in the future? And why do politicians feel they can show a complete lack of regard for women's reproductive rights with impunity?
Abortion rights are being chipped away. In 2007, Justice Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court pointed the finger of shame at American women who have abortions, and encouraged State legislators to pass laws discouraging women from seeking later abortions. Then, this Spring, to pass the health care bill, Obama traded away our rights to have an abortion covered by insurance like any other health procedure. impunity?
The anti-abortion forces have created a climate of opinion wherein the media characterizes their outrageous behavior of blocking women's access to abortion and violence against providers, including murder, as "the abortion wars". In fact, the overwhelming majority o Americans favor allowing women abortion under some circumstances and only a minority either engage in or approve of interfering with a woman's ability to get an abortion.
How have we come to this point?
The groundswell of support of the American public for abortion reform that led to the Court's decision in Roe v. Wade decision almost 40 years ago immediately subsided after the decision because we thought we'd gained a lasting victory. We collectively left it to national pro-choice advocates to watch out for our interests. They did their best, but without continuous pressure from the general public, women in particular, why should be politicians care what our national advocates said?
Can we turn this around?
Yes, we can stop this turning back of the clock, but only if thousands of us, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of us, commit an uncomfortably large part of our energy and resources to put this issue to the forefront. We must give our politicians the backbone to stand up against the anti-abortion forces, who do invest that energy and resources. Mass demonstrations in Washington, D.C. won't do it alone. The politicians know that anyone can charter busses and bring in lots of people for one weekend, making a lot of noise in the Capitol while Congress may not even be in town. Then, when the busses leave, the politicians go back to work and resume business as usual.
How do we create a pro-choice climate? We create it the same way that we did it before Roe v. Wade.
The decade before the Court decided Roe v. Wade, dedicated individuals within an array of American organizations took up the cause of abortion reform at a local level. Typically, one or more individuals suggested that the group invite a speaker for their meeting, they then formed a committee to study the question, which in turn made recommendations to the leadership of the group. A resolution was presented to the members and then passed. Then a press release was sent to the local papers. Then, a representative of the local chapter went to the State or National meeting to bring the resolution to the national decision-making body. Did they have opposition? Yes, there were those who expressed their moral opposition to abortion every step of the way, and this caused months or years of debate sometimes. But, ultimately, by the time the Court took up the case, many churches, social service organizations, professional associations and political groups were on record as supporting abortion reform to end the national scandal of women dying from illegal abortions.
Then, in the late 60, the second wave of the feminist movement arose, and by the early 70's, it gained momentum and widespread demonstrations, a blizzard of articles decrying the outmoded laws, and books and movies made the policy-makers aware that the overwhelming majority of Americans were concerned about the health and safety of women and that they wanted change. Justice Blackmun and the Court gave it to them.
NOW, WE NEED TO KEEP ON SENDING IN OUR DONATIONS TO OUR PRO-CHOICE ADVOCATES IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND WE NEED TO SIGN ON-LINE PETITIONS, AND WE NEED TO VOTE FOR PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATES,
BUT, WE NEED TO DO MORE.
We have to re-affirm our beliefs openly with family and friends.
We have to support our local abortion providers.
We have to work within our community organizations.
We have to talk about the need for legal and safe abortion at our workplace.
If we speak loudly and propose that our club or organization or movement take public stand to support a woman's choice, we will be opposed, but we can't let the minority of individuals who want to impose their personal morality on others silence the entire group.
No one should be out in front of an abortion facility creating a hostile environment. (even if it's just carrying a sign)
We have to make it known that we strongly believe that the right of a woman to make her decision privately as guaranteed by the Supreme Court should include her right to go to the medical facility of her choice to carry out her decision in privacy.
If protesters are out in front the facility, we need to devote our precious free time to creating a dignified and peaceful atmosphere by escorting women through those who seek to intimidate or shame them.
WOMENS'S HEALTH IN WOMENS HANDS