The countdown for the 112th Congress to convene is 3 days away. In listening to the rhetoric on the airwaves, it appears the country is poised to become a conservative orderly society for the wealthy, the business community and the anti-choice forces. The Republicans are threatening to enforce their mandate, which they proclaim is to roll back “Obama Care,” cut spending and read the Constitution on the first day in session.
On January 2nd on Daily Kos, Kaili Joy Gray outlines the challenges that women will face in the upcoming year. The right of a woman to control her body is in peril. In state legislatures across the county there are so many draconian laws concerning abortion that in many areas women will have to travel for abortions or resort to self-performed abortion. In states like Nebraska, lawmakers have become fetal experts who can determine when and if a fetus feels pain. They must have all had Freudian therapy where they traced their issues back to the womb and were able to identify the pain they felt. The National Right to Life committee will encourage other states to pass this law as well as the Oklahoma law that mandates a woman pay for an ultrasound before she is allowed to exercise her legal right to abortion. In Ohio, as well as many other states, legislation to prohibit health insurance coverage for abortion if it is subsidized by state or federal funds will be a weapon to fight against abortion. Once the new health care law is fully in place in 2014, the anti-choice legislators are plotting to turn the law against the right to choos by preventing women from buying health insurance that covers abortion services. This will primarily affect women who cannot afford abortions or child care.
On the federal level, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has longed tried to introduce restrictive abortion laws. He is now proposing to use the new health care reform law to deny reproductive health care to women. He is trying to use the power of the purse to subvert the law of the land, Roe vs Wade, by making it financially difficult for women and their employers to pay for health insurance coverage of abortion.
In 1973, the Supreme Court issued a decision with a 7 to 2 majority in favor of Roe. This decision was partially based on the 14th Amendment’s right to privacy. This means that abortion is a fundamental right under the Constitution. So now we have a Supreme Court decision in favor of abortion based on the Constitution. Where are all the Tea Party conservatives who have said that laws must be based on the Constitution? Now, we have such a law and these activists are trying to go against the Constitution. Where are John Boehner’s tears as he fights against a woman’s right to choose and privacy? Taking that away and restricting it should be worthy of a least a handful of tissues. Where are all the strict constructionists when it comes to a woman’s health and privacy?
It is indeed a war. This is not just a battle for the right to privacy. This is a battle for equal rights. This is a battle where we must demand that our rights are protected. No more compromises with women’s health as we had with the health care reform bill. No more preventing women from gaining insurance for abortion. Lest we forget, women’s taxes go to the same IRS.
The 112th Congress is the most anti-choice ever. The House will continue to speak of the smaller role of government while imposing government on women. The battle lines are drawn; and the war will be lost unless women speak out against these laws and insist that our constitutional rights are threatened. The fight is ours, we must work vigorously to defend our rights. JAC is committed to this fight – are you?
Gail Yamner, President
Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs