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Posts Tagged ‘pro-choice’

by Julia

Today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision ruling that the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment is “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.” In the decades since, legislative attacks on this right have whittled away at a woman’s right to corporal autonomy. Like so many other government actions, these attacks have disproportionately impacted lower-class women (think: Hyde Amendment). In honor of Dr. George Tiller, a clinic physician who was murdered last June, NARAL Pro Choice America asks bloggers to answer the following question:

What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?

I interpret “trust women” to simply mean that no one – not the government, not anti-choicers, not your religion – has the right to dictate what you do with your body. I grew up in a liberal household, and even with a relatively strong Catholic family, I always learned that no higher authority should be able to dictate what goes on in your body. When I was in high school, I came across this thought experiment that completely shifted my consciousness and rendered me a staunch pro-choice advocate:

Anti-abortion activists protect a fetus above the rights of the mother. But what if that fetus is female (not to mention gay, or disabled, etc.)? In this case, the fetus has more rights in the womb than it will EVER have once it is born.

My right to live was more important when I was in the womb than it is now if I were to become pregnant. Anti-choicers staunchly defend a fetus’s personhood, but when that fetus becomes a woman, suddenly she is just a vessel for reproduction. This hypocrisy set me on a life-long course towards legally protecting a woman’s right to choose and to protect the civil liberties of all citizens.

In order for Roe v. Wade to work effectively, however, every woman needs to have access to accurate information. So included in my devotion to choice is also my support of transparent and comprehensive  sex-ed programs, the protection of abortion clinics, and progressive sexual advice sites, like Scarleteen. Upholding Roe v. Wade also means advocating for abortion rights in the current health care debate, and refusing to allow politicians to throw women under the bus for the sake of their corporate affiliations or re-election campaigns. I don’t want to live in a society where the autonomy of 52% of the population is subordinated to the will of religious zealots or corrupt politicians.

I trust women not because I am a woman, but because every citizen should have the moral agency to make personal decisions.

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by Julia

The Democratic Party platform contains the following statement:

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

Right. So then why is DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) encouraging Bart Stupak (D-MI) to run for re-election to Congress? You know, the same Bart Stupak who proposed arguably the most anti-choice amendment to health care policy since Hyde.

The answer: to party-line Democrats, maintaining a numerical majority is more important than supporting women’s rights. Pro-choice Republicans exist, as do pro-life Democrats. As Jos at Feministing postulates, it really doesn’t matter whether or not a representative has a “D” or “R” after one’s name. Neither delineation indicates a pro-choice politician. We may have a Democratic majority in Congress, but it is certainly not a pro-choice (or pro-woman) majority.

So what is a voter to do when politicians do not stand by their statements? When the party leadership continually throws a majority of the population under the bus? When your fellow “democrats” have not revolted but waited idly for the promised change?

“Democratic” majority or not, women’s rights are not being upheld, leading me to conclude that politics as usual is not enough. It is time for women to stopping putting our trust in representative government. We can only represent ourselves. We make up 52% 0f the population and only 17% of our so-called “representative” democracy.

So. If you still want to vote, vote by the candidate, not the party.  Elizabeth and I are proud to promote The Women’s Campaign Forum, which provides funding and support for pro-choice women from all political parties. If you’re in Massachusetts, vote for Martha Coakley on the 19th. But vote for her because she’s a pro-choice woman, and not because she’s a “Democrat.”

Personally? I’m with Jodi Jacobson on this one:

“There you have it, gals.  The Democratic Party once again has your back.

To the firing squad.

Or, as I prefer, “to the streets.”

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