Will there be choice after 2012? The matter of choice largely depends on which party gains control of the White House and the Congress. Yesterday Republican hopefuls railed at the role and size of government in our lives. Of course, the intervention of government into the private lives of citizens apparently does not apply to the right to reproductive choice. According to the NY Times, “Candidates were asked whether the Congress should intervene legislatively to make sure states cannot allow abortion. Most pledged instead to work toward a constitutional amendment banning abortion.” Now, these are the same candidates also decried the role of activist judges who do not respect the Constitution or established law. Hmmm, Roe vs Wade seems to fall into the category of the right to privacy guaranteed in the Constitution and is established law.
Combine the pledge by candidates to ban abortion with the new laws restricting abortion and the goals of the anti-abortion forces are fast becoming a sad reality for too many women. Fortunately, brave individuals and advocates for women are challenging these laws in the courts. In Idaho Jennifer McCormack has challenged the fetal pain law. She highlights the issue that women in Idaho must travel to obtain abortions to satisfy all the conditions of this law. If she is successful women in southeastern Idaho may be able to exercise their legal rights to abortion. In Texas, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the forced sonogram law. This suit was filed on behalf of medical clinics and doctors and of course, the women it would impact. This law is an over-reaching intrusion of the state into the lives of individuals and medical professionals. Federal judges have temporarily blocked implementation of restrictive abortion laws in Kansas, South Dakota and North Carolina.
These reprieves may be temporary and do not insure that the laws won’t eventually be implemented. The threats are real. New laws will replace these laws and more restrictions will be placed upon women. The anti-abortion agenda has powerful advocates in the Conservative movement and is advancing its case through a populist outcry of too many government regulations while it is busy regulating and interfering with women.
For those of us who believe in the right of a woman to make her own family planning and health decisions, the path to save choice lies in fighting the ever-increasing assaults on abortion rights. The fact is there is no choice but to elect officials who will respect the right of women to choose. For each of us there is a line beyond which we cannot go. For me, it is the rights of women. What is it for you?
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President, Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs
originally posted on JACBlog!