Sunday, January 22, 2012

Roe V Wade @ 39: The Struggle For Female Liberty Continues


In the South and Midwest of our country, an evil struggling against female freedom is winning ground. In Mississippi, a woman is charged with murder for giving birth to a still born. In Alabama, a mother of three awaits a ten year sentence for a Cesarean that resulted in the death of her baby. In South Carolina, over 300 women have been charged with some form of fetal homicide. In Indiana, a young woman who tried to kill herself by taking rat poison is in jail, charged with murder and attempted fetal homicide.

These cases are but a few examples of the way women’s rights have come under assault in this country, land of the supposed “free.”

Since the Tea Party takeover, these rights can’t be taken for granted. Whether it’s taking a law meant to protect women from spousal abuse misused to prosecute her for attempted murder or fetal homicide laws as a direct attempt to push back on Roe V Wade, women’s rights in America are being swept away on a Tea Party tide with nary a cry of notice. Grain by grain, with each new law, women are being relegated to citizens without rights or choices over their own bodies.

Today is the 39th anniversary of Roe V Wade, in which it was determined that abortion was a fundamental right under the United States Constitution. The court ruled that a fetus is not a person under the within the meaning of the 14th amendment. Anti-choice groups tried to argue and continue to argue that personhood begins at conception; however, even if this were accepted, it would not override a woman’s right as a person to have authority over her medical decisions, her health, and the use of her body.

One could argue that forcing women to carry a fetus to term is a form of involuntary servitude and thus violates her rights under the 13th amendment.

While many people will tell you they are not “pro-abortion” (in fact, there are few “pro-abortionists” out there- this is a myth designed by the anti-choicers to demonize and emotionalize the issue), most people can’t get around a woman’s right to made her own medical decisions. After all, the precedent should make all citizens nervous; who would determine at which point the state would come between our doctor’s and ourselves if we suggest that we have the right to put the state there for pregnant women.

And then there are the complicating issues of rape, incest, and health problems that could cause the death of the mother. It’s simply not possible to restrict the rights of half of the population in order to impose a religiously based morality on the entire population without stealing liberty and freedom from those individuals. Furthermore, these laws don’t just impact women. Of the women mentioned at the beginning of this article, many of them have children and families who depend on the woman the state has arrested for fetal homicide.

The Supreme Court ruled that women had a right to privacy under the due process clause in the 14th amendment to have an abortion. At first, they attempted to balance the state’s need to protect prenatal life and protect women’s health by suggesting that the state’s interest becomes bigger as the pregnancy progresses, but this was later struck down until the right to have an abortion existed until the fetus was viable; able to live outside of the mother’s womb without artificial aid.

Roe V Wade kicked down the religious politicization door for the Republican Party, who went to work immediately to further politicize religion and morality and define their party as the “family values” party. Every year, they use abortion as a get out the vote tactic and yet we note that their Presidents do not, even with an activist conservative Supreme Court behind them, overturn Roe v Wade. The reason they don’t do this is because until now, they haven’t wanted to lose this easy emotional appeal under which they can hide their blatantly anti-family policies. Bu the times are a changing with the introduction of the Tea Party and the race to the bottom for the Republican Party. Newt Gingrich just won the South Carolina primary. What does that tell you about the state of the party? Morality isn’t really the driving force for these folks, but division and fear are.

Since the hard won freedom on January 22, 1973, the abortion debate has been framed very successfully as an emotional issue rather than a legal issue of liberty and rights of the individual. Anti-abortion activists frame taking away a woman’s medical right over her body as a morality issue. But it is not an issue of morality. Laws are put into place for the betterment of society, not to legislate religious or moral beliefs, although there is often crossover between the two. The issue is where does the need for the law originate? We have laws (supposedly) against beating women. These laws are intended to preserve women’s rights and freedom. ...

Read the rest of the story @ PoliticusUSA

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