Monday, March 13, 2006
Edwards: Ulcers Over Abortion Legislation - March 13
My stomach has hurt a lot lately -- and not from the normal fast food that I eat. The pain began while I was listening to NPR's Morning Edition. I knew that the whole nonsense surrounding Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court was over, but now a new nominee was named, Judge Samuel Alito. Immediately I began getting updates from feminist groups. I would have liked to write off their concerns as biased, maybe just because Bush recommended him -- that seems to be enough for some these days. Then I began hearing more alarming information and the pain intensified. Again on NPR there were reports that Alito had written thank-you notes to several groups, including Focus on the Family, for their support (included in that note was a reference to his doing the right thing as a Justice).
Then an interesting case appeared before the Supreme Court, Sheidler et al, v. NOW. On February 28 the Supreme Court voted 8-0, in which they undid the applicability of the ever-important Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) law to abortion protestors. RICO had resulted in dramatically reducing violence and violent threats against abortion clinics. With this new decision, I felt a new pull on my stomach -- Are women going to be afraid to go to clinics once again?
The picture before the legalization of abortion was life threatening, because illegal abortion does not mean NO abortion. Instead, the consequences are far greater. Illegal abortion really means unregulated, dangerous abortions. Without the option for safe abortion, women are likely to choose the dangerous sort, a choice I do not wish for anybody. Everyone grimaces when there are reports of babies left right after birth in bathroom stalls in malls and garbage containers. This would be the sort of thing that would become more common, though, along with attempts at abortion with coat hangers and other unhygienic situations.
But maybe there is hope in this era of the right wing basically undoing themselves -- shooting themselves in the foot, which is the best outcome for us pro-choicers, as it takes very little effort and energy on our part. Newsweek and
But alas, this possible self-destruction by the religious right does not take away the pains in my belly. Activism is always needed -- always warranted -- and always takes more time. I wasn't born yet to see the enactment of Roe, but maybe I will be alive to see the private choices of women continually protected. At least that's what I am working toward.
*Lauren Edwards is working toward a Masters in Public Administration at the
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