Thursday, November 06, 2003

Partial-birth abortion law, and other topics.

BBC NEWS has a pretty good Q+A on partial-birth abortion and the recent (yesterday) U.S. ban - coverage of which isn't exactly topping the headlines today. I'd kind of expected a bit more. The story doesn't even show on Google News's radar, at least the few times I've checked since hearing about the issue on the evening news last night.

The N.Y. Times (registration) does offer a front-page (elecrtonic, anyway) piece on the issue: general coverage with a focus on incrementalism in the anti-abortion movement. This is exactly what makes me fearful, and angry at anti-abortion activists. Look, I fully acknowledge that every person has a right to an individual opinion, and freedom of speech is something I hold dear, so I have no issue with the expressing of anti-abortion viewpoints. I don't agree, but I wouldn't intentionally silence anyone.

BUT I also value the freedom to control my own body. What happens within my skin should be subject to my own decision-making, my own values, my own cosiderations of my health and well-being.

The topic of partial-birth abortion, as the BBC Q+A states, is a touchy one for a lot of people, and it is for me, too. But that is not the point. The point is that this legislation sets precedent for limiting a woman's control over and access to her own body. And that is unconscionable. The law does not, from my understanding, have a clause regarding exceptions in cases of medical necessity. That is unthinkable - and has already been reason enough for the courts to strike down previous legislation.

What the hell is happening in this country? Faith-based programs get government funding, women's rights get rolled back, we get embroiled in a very messy - and dangerous, and morally questionable - situation in Iraq. Legislation and policy erodes our personal freedoms and our right to privacy. People all over the world raise concerns about human rights abuses in Guantanamo Bay(Google News).

One of the saddest thinga about this, I think, is that we're now in a space, socially, where questioning, protesting, and challenging is seen by many as unpatriotic. You know, I like this country. I question a lot of its historical and current actions, but that does not mean I'm ready to up and move. It doesn't amke me an anti-American American. Nope. Quite the contrary. I think quite a bit about the responsibility of a citizen in a free democratic system (ok, argue among yourselves about whether or not that's actually what we have) . It is responsible to engage, whether in agreement or dissent, with the ideas and policies of those in power.

Is freedom still freedom if there's no dissent, no expression of alternative voices?

- posted by laurie @ 11/06/2003 07:34:00 AM
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