Friday, April 20, 2007

in addition to taxes, the virginia tech shootings, sexual assault month, equal pay day and alberto gonzales on the hot seat, there was the whole supreme court thing banning an abortion procedure with no exception made for the health of the mother.

and, as i predicted years ago, the inch by inch fight to control women's bodies wages on and the prospect that we will have to battle for a long time to maintain autonomous decision making about our own bodies looms larger. (could that sentence BE more convoluted?)

in other words, they're going to wage this fight procedure by procedure, week number by week number, until there's no margin at all and accessible abortions disappear.

so, in the eventuality that this 'abortion' fight becomes even more of an overall 'reproductive rights' fight, what do we really want?

i want over the counter access to Plan B for all girls/women - and i want the experience to be interference-free.
i want all forms of contraception to be covered by my effing health insurance.
i want comprehensive sex education in our schools and universities (you'd be appalled at what college students don't know.)
i want comprehensive pre-post natal healthcare to become an issue for our public officials.
and i want 'choice' advocates to change their message: it's not about choice. it's about comprehensive reproductive health care provision for women. it's about being able to have the best situation to have kids and the best situation not to have kids.

what's so freaking hard about that, people?

New Push Likely for Restrictions Over Abortions - New York Times

[and here is a link to Cecily, a mommy blogger who has a great post about what this ruling means in real life terms, as in, to women like her.]


Jeff said...

I'm pro-life, but I absolutely agree with all of your last points. I think that (with education), there is actually a lot of common ground between the two groups.

ding said...

thank you, jeff.

i think there is common ground between groups - there has to be.

Molly Malone said...

amen, ding.

something that i detest about the abortion debate in this country is that it is painted as black and white: abortion is either a perfect salve or a perfect sin. that the fetus is either simply a flesh tumor or sentient human the second the sperm touches the egg. and the truth is abortion and fetae are neither.

i'm squarely pro-choice. this ruling makes me mad and it infuriates me that they won't even make an exception for the life of the mother. something like only 10% of abortions occur after the first trimester and that procedure is done so late in pregnancy that it's not like people are having it done because the cool kids are doing it.

overall what i totally agree with you that this is really part of a reproductive rights conversation. (btw, i've never understood why the portions of the population who are so adamantly anti-choice are also adamantly anti-sex ed and anti-contraception!) i really want to see choice advocates need to re-frame the conversation. abortion is just one part of reproductive rights. and go ahead and acknowledge the fetus. it's there and people have mixed feelings about it. to not acknowledge it plays into the anti-choice idea that women who get abortions are heartless and make that choice as casually as what shoes to wear that day.

... okay, now i'm just working into a tizzy.

amen, ding.

ding said...

and go ahead and acknowledge the fetus. it's there and people have mixed feelings about it. to not acknowledge it plays into the anti-choice idea that women who get abortions are heartless and make that choice as casually as what shoes to wear that day.

absolutely. since the decision came out, i've been reading stories of women who had to have this procedure and their stories are wrenching. (alas, a blog has a good wrap up of mommy blogs that are talking about this issue.) their situations weren't easy and it's not like there wasn't any struggle or conflict in their final decision.

but you know, these kinds of decisions happen when women aren't thought of at all; the men on the court still have a 19th century idea that women must be protected from ourselves, that we cannot handle the complexity of our lives, that we cannot shoulder the burden of our situations or have the ability to make the heavy decisions that fit with our lives. (i believe ginsberg's dissent mentioned something like that.)

nevermind that, for centuries, women have been making these decisions, whether or not they've been recognized by the law.

now i'm on a rant!

ding said...

this is an excerpt from linda greenhouse's nytimes article, 'Adjudgig a Moral Harm to Women From Abortion.' she pulls from Justice Kennedy's opinion and it's unbelievable (the bold parts are my emphasis):

"After fetal viability, the court said in Roe v. Wade, abortion can be banned except when ending a pregnancy is necessary for the sake of a woman’s life or health.

But never until Wednesday had the court held that an abortion procedure could be prohibited because the procedure itself, not the pregnancy, threatened a woman’s health — mental health, in this case, and moral health as well. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that a pregnant woman who chooses abortion falls away from true womanhood.

“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” he said.

Justice Kennedy conceded that “we find no reliable data” on whether abortion in general, or the procedure prohibited by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, causes women emotional harm. But he said it was nonetheless “self-evident” and “unexceptional to conclude” that “some women” who choose to terminate their pregnancies suffer “regret,” “severe depression,” “loss of esteem” and other ills.

Consequently, he said, the government has a legitimate interest in banning a particularly problematic abortion procedure to prevent women from casually or ill-advisedly making “so grave a choice.”

If “a necessary effect of the regulation and the knowledge it conveys will be to ENCOURAGE some women to carry the infant to full term,” Justice Kennedy continued, that outcome will advance “the state’s interest in respect for life.”

forced pregnancies, anyone? clearly, the state's interest is greater than the interest of the individual.

i don't care what your position on abortion is; the idea that the interest and will of the individual (when that individial is doing nothing wrong) can be nullified by that of the state should make you very concerned.