A long time ago, in a galaxy far away I wrote a blog post about abortion. Almost every day and absolutely every week, this old post gets hits. Not sure why but if you, dear reader, are one of the people who has read that post this week, please let me know what you thought.
The gist of it, if you don’t feel like reading it (though, you can find it here) was that access to abortion services is already severely limited in the country to the point where doing things like overturn Roe v. Wade isn’t even necessary.
The past few weeks contraception has made headlines. This started when Rick Santorum‘s biggest funder made comments about how “in my day women put an aspirin between their knees.” Santorum, while saying he could not be responsible for every “off color joke a supporter makes” also made comments about how contraception is basically responsible for a host of society’s ills and problems. Truthfully, I agree that Santorum is not responsible for everything a supporter says but when their statements so clearly echo a candidate’s own words and opinions, well, that’s another story.
After that, Virginia nearly passed a law — and Governor McDonnell was very supportive of this at first — that would require women get a vaginal probe sonogram before having an abortion. The Senate added an amendment to a transportation bill that would let employers choose what medical services their employees could get based on their sense of morality. All of this led some to wonder: What year is it? Are we still in 2012 or did we somehow get transported back to the 1950s?
This week has been no less strange. Rush Limbaugh went after a Georgetown law student after she testified in Congress about a friend of hers who used contraceptive medication to help her deal with ovarian cancer and it was super expensive so she needed her insurance to cover. Rush, always eager to get his facts right (he once wanted to give out Senator Feinstein’s phone number when I worked for her and gave the wrong one, he gave a committee number instead, this was an easy fact to get right) said the student was a slut for using so much birth control as if you take a pill every time you have sex.
What the hell is going on here? Didn’t we decide these things years ago? How do committees have hearings like Darrell Issa did on reproductive health without including women? Why are we suddenly so interested in getting into women’s private lives? What happened to Republicans who were for less government intervention in people’s business?
This is where I am going to sound crazy and I know I am so there is no need to tweet or email me about it. I know, I have met me.
Since college, when I was very active in the campus pro-choice activities, I have had an idea — almost a fantasy — that we can bring pro-choice and pro-life people together and actually prevent abortions. I am in the make abortion “safe, legal and rare” camp. No one I know likes abortion (I am sure some people do, there are always a few people who like something). Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is pro-let women have control over their own bodies. At the end of the day, for instance, the people at Planned Parenthood and the people who hate Planned Parenthood actually want the same thing; to prevent abortion. Planned Parenthood, also in the news recently when the Susan G. Komen foundation wanted to publicly distance themselves from it and then had to reverse that decision in an equally public way, does a lot more than provide abortions. It is not the abortion factory that some think it is — abortions account for only three percent of what they do. Read that again — three percent.
I had forgotten about my fantasy that pro-choice and pro-life people could come together until I heard Joe Scarborough — and I am convinced that when I had knee surgery years ago, the cadaver bone that was inserted into my leg had to be a Republican because that is the only way I can explain why I like him so much — said. He said that the recent talk about contraception from Santorum et al was very scary to her and her very pro-life friends. The GOP was taking things a few steps too far. You can read some of this here.
This, I think, shows me that maybe it’s time for the forum I was thinking about so many years ago. What do you think?