Why I Marched

Posted by barb on Apr 25, 2004 in Pictures, Random Thoughts |

Melissa, her mom and her sister came out the weekend for the March for Women’s Lives.

Mushi, her mom and sister, and me at the march

I never used to worry about Roe V. Wade. I thought it was safe — written in stone. But with the current administration, I’m worried. An article on Salon, Marching for their Lives, was an eye-opener for me.

I’m certain that my family would be surprised, shocked, and disappointed that I would participate in such a march. However, I believe that the issue of abortion is strongly tied to our right to the freedom of religion. It is a religous question of when life begins, and for our government to legistate which religion is correct on that point is tantamount to chosing a state religion. I can’t support that.

There are also so many other women’s health and family planning issues at stake in this next election. One big one is access to birth control both here and abroad. Bush signed into law the so called gag-order which prohibits federal funds to go to any clinic overseas that even discusses the possibility of abortion, even if the US funds are never used for such a purpose. This has severely crippled such clinics overseas in their ability to teach family planning to third world people.

What most fundamentalists don’t understand is that abortion is never the first option. Organizations like Planned Parenthood are committed to the overall reproductive health of women. They would prefer to teach men and women to use birth control and how to have a planned family than to use abortion as the first or only option.

Planned Parenthood was there for me when I was a student in need of regular check-ups and birth control. My health insurance didn’t provide birth control, so I was left on my own. Planned Parenthood offered reduced-price services for me. Sadly, during one of my visits I found out that they could no longer offer free services for those most in-need. They still maintained a sliding scale, but the lowest end was no longer free. These are the people most in need of birth control.

What the fundamentalists also don’t seem to understand is that the number of abortions did not change after Roe v. Wade. (Sadly I can’t remember my reference for that — I did a report long, long ago and found that statistic in my research.) What it did was change the number of women dying from back-street abortions, clothes hangers and broken glass douches.

Bush’s solution is to teach abstinence. Hello? Abstinence isn’t enough. According to one of the speakers on Sunday, nine out of ten people have had sex before marriage. Nine out of ten. I wonder how many of those have had real sex education in school. I wonder how many of them know how pregnancy happens and how to prevent it. Not enough. Salon had an eye-opening article about the abstinence programs: Bush’s Sex Fantasy.

Salon also had a good short story, Miscarriage of Justice, that might be of interest.

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