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July 31, 2013

A Woman’s “Lady Business” is a Lady’s Business

Patrick W. Allen

From the beginning of our Republic, women have often made extraordinarily difficult personal reproductive choices as the result of deliberative thought and reflection. Generally, but with a fair degree of certainty, it can be stated that every woman in the United States is pro-choice.


Forty years ago, Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States on the issue of women's rights, constitutional freedom of choice and abortion became the law of the land.


The constitutional result coming out of the Roe v. Wade decision is that women have multiple constitutionally guaranteed rights available to them regarding their choice to fill, or not fill, their lives with young voices. To include, but not be limited to:


a. Take no action. Live their lives without once becoming pregnant.

b. Carry their pregnancy to full term.

c. Abort their pregnancy.

d. Foster Care Parenting.

e. Adoption


Following Roe v. Wade, the pro-life, Christian coalition and right-wing social conservative movements have coalesced into an aggressive opposition movement to deny women the right to an elective abortion on moral or religious grounds, legislating its legal prohibition or restriction.


Full-throat opposition to Roe v. Wade, using the moniker of pro-life, which by its very name implies that pro-choice advocates are not persons of faith or life, has controlled a 40-year narrative that women who choose their constitutional right to an abortion as well as medical professionals who provide those constitutionally guaranteed services are baby killers and murderers.


Roe v. Wade led to the growth of a largely religious-based pro-life, anti-abortion movement even as Americans became, in the 1970s and 80s, increasingly pro-choice. The first major pro-life success came in 1976 with the passing of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions. This became the starting point for gutting Roe v. Wade from the inside out.


The prevailing strategy was that if Roe v. Wade cannot be repealed, then use federal and state legislation to dismantle it one piece at a time and at every opportunity. It has taken 30-plus years for the anti-abortion movement to figure out a workable strategy, which has been defined as … “If we cannot repeal Roe v. Wade, then remove the ability for clinics and doctors to perform such services.”


The Old Right-Wing Strategy: Immediately following the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the pro-life movement embarked on a multi-pronged strategy using the following tactics:


Block: Block entrance to women’s health clinics, regardless of whether the women coming to these clinics were there to get wellness check-ups, mammograms, nutritional assistance or an abortion. This tactic had limited success insofar as clinic managers became wiser and used alternative access points to get women into the clinics without them having to run the gauntlet of delusional protesters blocking the main entrance.


Shame: Shame women entering these clinics for healthcare services by displaying grotesque posters and calling each woman a baby killer – whether they were there for an abortion or not. This tactic also had limited success, but did draw news media attention, which forced some women to enter the clinics under the cover of darkness or forced them to return to back alley solutions in order to keep their faces off the local news.


Assassinate: Publicize pictures, addresses and directions for pro-life protesters to easily turn out in force. Additionally, publicize wanted posters of doctors who perform women’s healthcare services at these clinics…in many cases, along with their personal address information. This egregious tactic resulted in members of the pro-life movement to assassinate doctors, such as Dr. George Tiller, who was gunned down on a Sunday morning in the sanctuary of his church.


The murdering of doctors by right wing "pro life" extremists is antithetical to the notion of protecting life. Let’s see…Pro-Life, Church, Murder … what a plan! The pro-life movement should view this as one of their proudest moments.


The New Right-Wing Strategy: This strategy is based on a very simple premise…if Roe v. Wade cannot be repealed at the federal level, then use state-based legislative processes to remove the infrastructure that provides women’s health care services, denying women their constitutionally guaranteed rights. It doesn’t matter to the right-wing extremists that other women will be denied fundamental healthcare assistance, such as wellness check-ups, mammograms and nutritional aid. The loss of these services is simply considered as collateral damage in order to achieve the principal goal of making America an abortion free zone.


Progressives, liberals, social activists and women’s rights advocates are in agreement…this strategy is way beyond absurd. However, and unfortunately, it is an extraordinarily creative approach by every right-wing controlled state legislature to gut Roe v. Wade from the inside-out. In some cases, it’s not the legislation that is closing the doors and putting women’s health clinics out of business, but rather the financial resources required to litigate against the legislation in the courts.


The key provisions to this strategy are, but are not limited to:


Create legislatively backed operational/functional regulatory requirements which cannot be met by the majority of women’s healthcare clinics, thereby forcing the clinics to close their doors to women.


Create legislatively backed regulatory requirements that doctors must obtain hospital admitting privilege status in order to perform women’s healthcare services, even though these services would not be performed at the hospital. It is important and critical to note that clinics that provide a range of women’s healthcare services, but not abortions, are exempted from part or all of these anti-abortion laws.


It’s completely understandable that men, who do not experience menstrual cycles or menopause, can be profoundly ignorant regarding women’s issues. But, it’s absolutely astonishing to see the number of women, primarily right-wingers, who choose to relinquish ownership and decision making of their lady business parts to someone else.


The battle cry of No Abortions Regardless of What It Takes…whether it’s during the first trimester, at 20 weeks, at six weeks, at conception or even at ejaculation, directly contradicts the book that Bible Thumpers and Bible-Chunkers so quickly hide behind. The book that defines the beginning of life at the first breath of environmental air and which devotes over 20 verses to God’s oversight of an abortion…in the temple and performed by a member of the clergy.


Summary: Abortion is an emotional issue on so many levels…primarily used to nullify the result of rape, incest and/or the health of the mother. Legislating abortions out of existence by circumventing established law is egregious, deceptive and dangerous…not only for our society, but more importantly for women.


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