Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What To Do?

Last week I mentioned the appalling decision our oh-so-wise-and-virtuous Supreme Court just passed down regarding the recent federal ban on certain abortion rights. I've been doing a lot of reading this past week, trying to make heads or tails of the facts. As you can imagine, there has been quite a lot written in just a matter of days (more like hours, really) about this case. Pro-choice organizations have lost no time organizing protests and actions against it.

Pro-life organization have mostly been gloating.

To them I say this: Enjoy your brief moment of what you think is a victory. All this has done is mobilize a once complacent majority who foolishly believed they had a right to their own bodies. Those of us who have grown up in a post Roe vs. Wade era had no idea what government invasion into our most basic rights truly entails. Let me assure you, we won't stand for it. We're calling 'bullshit' on this one, kids. Oh yes.

In case you are unfamiliar with the decision, here are the basics:

* The Supreme Court has ignored past precedent and has outlawed a vaguely determined kind of second-trimester abortion.
* They have made no exception in cases when a woman's health is in danger.
* They have ignored findings by the most respected aspects of the medical community regarding the safety and necessity of such procedures in certain cases.
* The decision was passed with a narrow 5 to 4 margin with the most recent Bush appointees voting in favor of the ban.

Lynn Harris over at Salon.com has written an amazing and easily understood piece about this. I highly recommend you check it out.
Another fun fact - over 85% of abortions are performed before the so-called "partial birth abortions" would come into play. Also, there is no medical term for what the Supreme Court has just outlawed. The term "partial birth abortion" is a phrase cooked up by pro-life legislators to sound more like someone is killing a baby. Ah, fun with semantics.

I didn't want to write about this little news story until I had something to offer in the way of action. Luckily, there seems to be a lot mobilizing going on in response to this attack on our freedoms. Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York are sponsoring the Freedom of Choice Act. This act, if passed, would restore our reproductive rights as outlined in Roe vs Wade. It's crucial that our representatives hear from us on this issue. A "national call in day" has been organized for TODAY (4/25) to show congress how much support there is for this bill. You can bet the pro-life folks are going to be very vocal in their opposition, so we have to call in too. Go to the link below for information on who to call and don't forget to tell your friends who may be interested.


Here's some additional information from the National Organization for Women (NOW):
You can help jump-start the legislative reversal of last week's Supreme Court
decision, by making a phone call or sending an email. Join NOW and our allies
for a National Call-in Day on Wednesday, April 25, the anniversary of our 2004
March for Women's Lives, to ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the
Freedom of Choice Act.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it in her stinging dissent, "the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court." That effort to chip away at reproductive rights is well underway in state legislatures around the country and we have every reason to expect that this decision will galvanize those efforts. What can we do?

In addition to vigilantly opposing abortion restrictions that are proposed in our state houses, we need a federal law that will protect this right and place it beyond the reach of individual state legislatures. The Freedom of Choice Act would do just that. The Act would guarantee that women can exercise the reproductive freedom that was promised in Roe v. Wade and additionally would preserve that freedom should Roe be overturned by the new 5-4 anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court

Call Your Members of Congress - 202-224-3121

Join women's rights supporters across the country for this national call-in day on
Wednesday -- and keep calling until you get through. Use the switchboard number above, and ask for your members of Congress -- or get their receptionist's direct phone number from our
directory. Ask for the staff person who handles this issue, and request politely that the member co-sponsor the Freedom of Choice Act. If your senator or representative is already a co-sponsor (see a list of Senate and House co-sponsors), say thank you (trust us, they're hearing from the other side!) While you're at it, drop them an e-mail for added impact. Send a message to both of your senators and to your representative today using our easy alert system.
I just called all my representatives. Here's the breakdown.
Congressman Berman - has already signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. I expressed my thanks.
Senator Diane Fienstein - The staff member I spoke to wasn't sure if she is a co-sponsor, but did assure me that she is pro-choice and would be supporting the bill. I said "thank you" again!
Senator Barbara Boxer - She is already a sponsor on the bill so I just called to say "thank you" again and voice my support.
It was really easy to make the calls. Just ask the operator who answers to send you to the appropriate person's office and their staff will answer any questions you have and take note of your opinion.


KleoPatra said...

Thoughtful post...

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Thank you for such an informative post! This issue has been under my skin since it came down. You are so lucky to live in a state where the answer is "yes, she's pro-choice..." I fully admire your proactiveness.

Marz said...

Damnit! Why don't I ever see these posts in a timely manner?

bazu said...

Hey, I live in NY, but I vote in CA, and for once, I'm proud to have Feinstein and Boxer as my senators.

I've been reading a lot about this awful decision too. Did you read some of the paternalistic terms of Justice Kennedy's writing? To save women from "emotional pain" and "regret" - uh, last time I checked, you weren't my daddy, and last time I checked, my daddy doesn't tell me what to do with my body either.

Thank you so much for these links. I think the major points are:

"partial birth abortion" is a made-up phrase. Meaningless. PR. Drivel.

Therefore, doctors don't quite know what's illegal.

There are two major procedures for late term abortions.

Often doctors don't know which is the best procedure until they have begun surgery.

Therefore, they'll find themselves potentially having to commit a felony mid-procedure.

No matter what anti-choice advocates say, no-one has late term abortions for frivolous reasons. Often the fetus is already dead, will die as soon as it's born, or the woman's health is in serious jeoparday.

If late term abortions are banned, women have to undergo the trauma and health risks of giving birth to a dead or unviable baby.

The major ripple effect of this bill, other than taking the decision out of the woman and doctor's hands, is to take away medical knowledge-fewer and fewer doctors will know how to perform these emergency procedures.

I am filled with such disgust and resentment right now, it's not even funny.

runswithdog said...

Ha ha! *pointing up* 'Justice Kennedy, you aren't my daddy!' Sorry, that just cracked me up :-)

Anyways, why can't everyone realize that no one, NO ONE likes abortion. No woman wakes up one morning and thinks, 'I think I will get pregnant today so I can experience the wonder of that procedure'. I would take what Bazu said, 'no-one has late term abortions for frivolous reasons' and go one step further and say that no one has abortions for frivolous reasons period! If only all these people took this energy and expended it on real effort to minimize abortions - education and scientific research - we would be so farther ahead. How about a male contraceptive (yeah, American pharmaceuticals! How about that instead of the billions spent to develop and market Cialis?) How about some female contraceptive that doesn't make us gain weight, f*ck up our hormones, or give us cancer? This is such a political issue - the terminology just reeks of manipulation to the evangelical right and the Republican base.

Medical decisions should be kept in the realm of doctor and patient. Butt out of my business, Washington!