What’s chutzpah? Until December 2011, I would have deferred to the classic definition in Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish: chutzpah is a man who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court as a lonely orphan. But at the end of the year, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a bill to teach the world the real meaning of chutzpah: the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011.”
Medical Students for Choice were and are still literally putting their futures and lives on the line by taking on the medical establishment as well as the anti-abortion zealots to bring forward new generations of abortion providers.
Bait-and-switch tactics by conservative politicians threaten to further undermine the protections of the Supreme Court’s seminal abortion rights case.
On the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women are watching, and they are angry at what they see.
What about abortion gives it staying power as the central issue in domestic politics, even in the period of the worst economic situation since the Great Depression of the 1930s? This is a question well worth pursuing.
Although the clinic blockades of the 1980s and early 1990s, called “rescues” by anti-abortion activists, are fewer than they used to be thanks to 1994′s Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act [FACE], the ever-present threat of violence remains a fact of life for providers.
The 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade should be a day of celebration, but instead it’s a time where we look across the landscape and realize that women’s perception of themselves as free human beings is seriously challenged.
One key reason for the success of state legislatures in restricting women’s right to choose might be that the fight over abortion in the United States historically has been framed as an issue of privacy. And the right to privacy offers poor protection for what is also an issue of life, health, and—above all—discrimination.
Earlier this week, Washington Post columnist David Milbank leveled criticism at both sides of the debate over reproductive rights. He said the pro-choice crowd should “drop the sky-is-falling warnings about Roe and acknowledge that…not every compromise means a slippery slope to the back alley.” Unfortunately, Milbank is being more than a little naïve.
January 22, 2012, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Reflecting on this, I am reminded of an interview with a woman who, when asked what she thought about the fact that Medicaid would not cover her abortion care said, “I wish women had a right [to Medicaid coverage of abortion]…. I think women should have that option…. There’s a lot of things to having a right to choose.”