02 February 2013

ICYMI: Shockingly Good Editorial on Reproductive Rights

With other people writing terrific articles, letters to the editor, and (shocking!) editors themselves writing decent editorials, I hardly need to write anything myself. I can just watch, rinse, and repeat.

Ladies and Gents --  I proudly reprint the following Editorial from the Hartford Courant on January 23, 2013:

The Roe vs. Wade decision that the Supreme Court handed down 40 years ago this week gave American women a right that most then did not have: The right to make reproductive medical decisions for themselves. That single right is critical to the ability of a woman of child-bearing age to determine the course of her own life. Roe was a sound decision in 1973 and remains so today.

But consider this paradox: With the passage of time, more and more Americans — 63 percent in a Pew poll, and 70 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey — believe that the decision should remain law and not be overturned. Yet states are passing ever-increasing restrictions on women's abortion rights.

In the last two years, states passed 135 restrictions on when and how women can obtain an abortion. In four states, there is just one clinic where women can obtain an abortion — the Dakotas, Mississippi and Arkansas. Twenty-six states impose waiting periods and eight states restrict abortion coverage available even in private insurance. Other restrictions include forcing women to listen to ideological statements on the alleged greater risk of depression, suicide or cancer from having an abortion, assertions that scientific studies soundly contradict.

It is hard to imagine fundamental male reproductive decisions being the subject of the same level of legislative debate, harassment, patronizing lectures and legal restrictions as women routinely endure. That, unfortunately, shows no sign of changing. What will help lower the incidence of abortion even more is the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as it makes contraception available without cost sharing. That is all to the good.

Meanwhile, opponents of Roe will continue to attempt to chip away at women's right to an abortion. The majority that supports Roe could use the opposition's tenacity and not, even on this 40th anniversary, take the current right for granted.

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