Tomorrow is the 38th anniversary of Roe vs Wade becoming law of land. And it is still being debated as if the Supreme Court had not ruled and as if it were still up to states and the US legislatures to take away a woman’s basic right to own her body. The day will be commemorated with a weekend of anti-abortion marches, vigils against Planned Parenthood, targeting the few abortion providers we have, and a host of events designed to promote the anti-abortion, anti-reproductive rights forces. The shrill voices of the anti-abortion movement are drowning out the pr0-choice, women’s rights voices.
On January 18, ABC News reported that Randall Terry plans to run against President Obama next year. His campaign, beginning with that great political event–The Super Bowl–will attempt to run very graphic anti-abortion ads. It is up to all of us to write CBS and demand that they reject this type of ad. We all remember the infamous failure of costuming that led to a nano section boob exposure and the outcry. Surely, showing graphic pictures would fall into a category of not belonging on tv?
NPR‘s Julie Rovner reports that Speaker Boehner claims, “A ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is the will of the people, and it ought to be the will of the land.” The Congress that was elected to work foremost on jobs is now focusing on its real agenda. First, the symbolic vote on repeal of the “job-killing health care” bill. Note, no new legislation was introduced to replace this. They also broke their own rules of showing where the Constitution allows this and how the repeal reduces the deficit. According to the neutral Congressional Budget Office, the current bill reduces the deficit. Oh, well, rules are for everyone else, not those who wrote them.
Next is the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion bill, dubbed “Stupak on Steroids” by NARAL. In a detailed article on RHReality, Jessica Aron debunks the Chris Smith bill. Simply put, the anti-abortion Congressional members have already written restrictive language into the health care law. Led by Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA), the House passed a bill that re-affirmed the Hyde Amendment which bans taxpayer funding of abortions; the Stupak-Pitts amendment was even more restrictive than current law. Thanks to Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Murray (D-WA) this amendment was not included in the Senate version and a compromise was reached. Now, Rep. Smith is trying to enact even more restrictions making almost impossible for a woman to have insurance coverage for abortions. In fact, it will be almost impossible for many women to have access to health care and could impact how the government aids women’s health. According to Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and a prominent anti-abortion supporter, this bill will strip out subsidies that are available to lower income women. He questions how far Republicans will go. He is referring to the elimination of tax benefits for insurance policies that cover abortion — even abortions in most cases of medical necessity. This bill will pass the House, it might garner some real support in the Senate. This bill must fail.
On a day when women should celebrate the decision to end government control of their bodies by the Supreme Court 38 years ago, it is a day of reckoning and a day of resolve. It is a day when women must once again dedicate themselves to ensuring that reproductive rights remain that. The decision is a woman’s and not the state’s. The irony is that the Republican Party, which is so against government mandates, government control and the government coming between a doctor and a patient, are in favor of imposing government controls regulating the actions and behavior of women. They use these arguments to oppose the health care law, but are determined to implement them against women. One of the top priorities of the Republican Party is to dismantle women’s rights. Abortion is only the first step and the biggest one.
What can you do to celebrate this day? Email your Congressional leaders to vote against the Smith bill, HR 3 No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion. Donate to JAC to enable us to advocate for women on the Hill and to work against this bill. Join an organization and make your voice heard, go to a rally, help at a local clinic, write letters to the editors, sign petitions, join JAC or another group in Washington, spread the word among your friends and family – in short, get involved. Women ARE people, too – and it is time to remind the country of that.