Letter — Roe v. Wade threatened
On this, the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which secured for women the fundamental civil and human right to make our own childbearing choices, that is exactly what we all face — a country where abortion rights could disappear completely.
When abolitionist Wendall Phillips warned that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” he was of course talking about the scourge of slavery, not the dangerous specter of citizens and public servants
hellbent on violating the rights of women. But in the 30 years since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, activists for abortion rights have been forced to stand constant guard at the gate of reproductive freedom.
Starting with the executive branch, George W. Bush put a faux feminist spin on his war on terrorism when he told the U.N. last fall, “Respect for women can triumph in the Middle East and beyond.”
Forget respect for women. By denying women their reproductive rights, Bush is writing the book on repression of women. He’d been president about a minute when he reinstated the global gag rule; another minute when he named staunchly anti-choice Sen. John Ashcroft as attorney general; another few minutes when he eliminated funding for the United Nations Population Fund and tripled funds for harmful abstinence-only sexuality education.
Before the midterm elections he successfully used his bully pulpit to stump for anti-choice candidates, helping to return the U.S. Senate to an anti-choice majority. But it’s not as if the legislative branch wasn’t already doing its part to undermine women’s rights.
Reproductive rights activists have promoted bills that protect women’s rights. Planned Parenthood is a driving force behind the Equity in Prescription Insurance Contraceptive Coverage Act, which would require contraception to be covered by health insurance plans.
On this 30th anniversary we are not only celebrating, we are standing sentry at the hallowed gate of reproductive freedom.
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