Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy 36th, Roe!

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief that our girl Roe has lived to fight another day.

To be fair, Roe is not the same. She's been chipped away by anti-feminists on the Right, who've passed - or attempted to pass - legislation to compel parental notification, eliminate late-term pregnancies, force women who choose abortion to see ultrasound images of the fetus, and so on. But with the new administration, and a Democratic majority in Congress, things may change.

President Obama, who has long advocated reproductive freedom (albeit a more limited variety than I'd like), has made several pledges to repeal the policies of the Bush administration which have targeted women's reproductive choices, beginning with reinstating funding to international organizations providing healthcare to impoverished women.

The administration has also created a new website addressing Obama's women-related policy items, where he commits to several pro-women actions, including honoring a woman's right to choose and supporting legislation to provide comprehensive sex education and fund pregnancy prevention.

Obama also pledged in 2007, and again in a press release in 2008 to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a bill that would effectively codify the ruling in Roe and prevent the government from interfering in a woman's right to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy. While FOCA has yet to be introduced in the 111th Congress, there is little doubt that it will, and should it pass both the House and the Senate (this is the tricky part), I HOPE President Obama sticks to his promise and signs the bill into law.

On a more personal note, as the mother of a daughter, I am committed to seeing the tenets in Roe upheld not just for myself or the women of my generation who demand reproductive choice, but for our daughters (well, the ones we didn't abort), who depend on us - their mamas - to secure futures for them that include reproductive liberty.

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