Policy Round Up: Reproductive Rights
Shanel Adams is an editorial assistant with GlobalPolicy.tv. She is a public relations major, political science minor at Howard University originally from Detroit. Shanel is passionate about poverty alleviation and political participation.
Tuesday marked the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that hat held restrictive state regulation of abortion to be unconstitutional. As this issue has been brought into the forefront this week especially, here is a round-up of opinions from experts on the issue who share their views on protecting, improving and sustaining reproductive rights.
Rose Aguilar states that, regardless of partisanship, most Americans support reproductive rights:
“Seventy-one percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats said they ‘strongly’ feel a woman should make her own decisions and yet, a small group of politicians write and pass restrictive laws across the country that most people oppose. Rather than challenge politicians who are more interested in women’s bodies than the ongoing economic crisis, the media constantly repeat stale claims about divisions and run front-page photos of activists yelling at each other on the steps of the Supreme Court.”
Read the full article in Aljazeera.
Kierra Johnson says that all women deserve reproductive rights:
“The fight for abortion rights is not, nor has it ever been, about vaginas or babies. It is about power, quality of life and the role of government. The right to own property, the right to vote, the right to contraception as married and then as single people, the right not to be sterilized, the right not to be enslaved and treated as baby-making machines were all legal battles that women fought and won. Winning the legal right to abortion is but one more of the battles that made it possible for a woman to get a little closer to full autonomy over her body and her mind.”
Read the full article in The Huffington Post.
Kelly Bourdet suggests that America’s discomfort over abortion prevents progress:
“We’re left with the impression that abortion is a little wrong, probably shameful, and really emotionally difficult. Some women do regret their abortions. But sometimes human beings regret things. Abortion can be a major life decision for some women, but for others it isn’t. We can’t hear the women who don’t regret their abortions because they don’t have a voice. It’s still too taboo a topic. What’s more, our cultural expectations around women are still so defined by motherhood. A woman who doesn’t struggle with her abortion is somehow lacking in softness, in femininity, or in maternal instinct. This is the great opportunity that Roe v. Wade afforded us—the ability to no longer be defined by our reproductive capacity.”
Read the full article in Motherboard.
Cynthia Greenlee-Donald argues that African-American women were historically a part of the reproductive rights movement:
“But the road to Roe was paved not just with the bodies of women, but with the legal activism of African Americans. We can’t talk about Roe without nodding to the 1970 Abramowicz v. Lefkowitz case that triggered the liberalization of New York state’s abortion law before Weddington’s date with the justices. On the legal team was Florynce Kennedy, the National Organization for Women co-founder who argued pointedly—and for the first time in any legal case—that changing the state’s abortion law was not merely a matter of physicians’ right to practice, but also women’s rights. Kennedy gathered women’s abortion stories at her kitchen table, but there were also other black power brokers at the metaphorical table. Noted civil rights attorney Napoleon Williams was an assisting counsel, and Percy Sutton—a former Freedom Rider, Manhattan borough president, and Apollo Theater investor—signaled his support. Civil rights and reproductive rights were not mutually exclusive.”
Read the full article in RH Reality Check.