Snippets of good news on reproductive rights: Skin Of Our Teeth edition

I bring you four snippets of good news on reproductive rights, two from the USA, one from Ireland, and one from Mexico. People are fighting for women’s rights, and in some places they’re hanging on — just. I think the enormity of the backlash goes underestimated by many. This fight is nowhere near over.

Oklahoma, USA:

Senate sustains abortion veto a second time

In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 714 remains successfully vetoed by governor Brad Henry, despite two attempts to override the veto. Each attempt to override the veto has failed by a single vote.

The bill would have prohibited abortions in state medical facilities or by state employees unless the life of the mother was threatened or she posed the risk of impairment to major bodily functions. It included a definition of what constitutes a medical emergency. Under the bill, it would only deal with physical conditions, not emotional, psychological or mental conditions. Another part of the bill would have prohibited abortions in state facilities or by state employees for victims of rape or incest.
[…]
Williamson said he will not give up. “I will continue the effort to override the governor as long as I believe there is a realistic chance to change someone’s mind,” he said.

Turning to Ireland:


Irish court backs girl who sought abortion

A woman carrying a fetus with anencephaly has won the right to travel to Britain to terminate the pregnancy. After being forced to go through the court system to access her basic right to bodily sovereignty, this 17-year-old will be torn from her family and friends, with no choice but to travel to another country for surgery at a time when she will be physically unwell and probably emotionally upset. But Ireland doesn’t get to force her to carry the fetus for another five months and birth it against her will, either stillborn or dying within hours or days. It’s a faint victory for women’s rights, one doused in sadness for the women who endure this ordeal every day all over the world, separated from their support systems and charged plenty of cash for the “privilege”.

More than 6,500 women a year legally leave the Irish Republic for abortions, mostly going to Birmingham and London.

Edit: via Shakesville, Brynn writes:

all I saw were anti-abortion demonstrators””about three or four times more of them than pro-choice demonstrators came to support “Miss D” on Monday.
(May 9, 2007 3:00 PM comment):I was riding by pretty fast, with 3 lanes of traffic. The first few signs I saw were large ones with garish photos of fetuses. You know the type: they have them here, too.

So not only was she dragged through multiple courts, threatened with forced restraint in Ireland and continuing forced pregnancy (no doubt other possibilities were running through her head by then); but then she was subjected to images of dead fetuses or babies (forced-birthers tend to use photos of stillborns, pretending they’re much earlier aborted fetuses). They’re harassing and torturing her, trying to convince her to choose an option she DOESN’T HAVE. Because her baby has NO BRAIN.

In Mexico:

Stakes high in Mexico abortion debate

In Mexico City, abortion is now legal to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women no longer need to prove they were raped or that their life is at risk; they can be healthy women who enjoy sex, and still have rights over their own uterus. So long as they get the pregnancy test early enough, and have physical and financial access to abortion services in Mexico City, that is.

Ratzinger is freaking out. I fear for the safety of Mexican doctors and nurses.

Back to the USA:

Giuliani to Support Abortion Rights

Rudy Giuliani’s donations to Planned Parenthood have been unearthed and publicised, and he has decided to break with 30 years of Republican tradition and run an openly pro-choice campaign.

After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.

Conscience vote or shrewd political move? Time will tell.

Edited to add:

Amnesty International Increases Support for Abortion Rights, from the Ms Magazine Feminist Wire:

Amnesty International — a human rights group that had previously remained mostly neutral on abortion — has released a new policy on sexual and reproductive rights that increases the organization’s support for abortion rights. Amnesty recently announced that it will support abortions for victims of sexual violence and for women whose health is endangered by pregnancy. It will also advocate the decriminalization of abortion worldwide.

Bloody hell, didn’t they do this already?

The article goes on:

According to the UN Millennium project, about 70,000 women die yearly from unsafe, illegal abortions.

And restricting abortion availability to cases of provable rape or immediately life-threatening illness is going to prevent very, very few of them.

I feel like shaking the whole planet and screaming “WAKE UP!!!”



Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, Politics

Tags: , , ,

7 replies

  1. In the last month or two there was also another Central American country (IIRC) which passed a law allowing abortions for women who already had two children and who could demonstrate financial hardship.
    It’s a long way from true reproductive autonomy, but at least it’s a more realistic acknowledgement of what mostly drives abortion – already having the family size that women want and families can afford to adequately raise. A far cry from the myth of the majority of abortionseekers as selfish sluts aborting for “convenience” (though of course to the fanatics mere grinding poverty alleviation counts as “convenience”).

  2. Thanks for this! I am glad to hear about a glimmer of hope from Ireland, as I recently read some “pro-life” literature that was holding Ireland up as the last bastion of virtue in the first world for persisting in criminalizing abortions. Ugh.

  3. I don’t know how much of a glimmer of hope it is, since this unfortunate woman still has to travel overseas for a TOP. All the High Court found – and this was after the District Court tried to hold her hostage on the grounds that “granting the order would amount to a failure to protect the rights of the unborn and would therefore be unlawful and improper.” – was that they couldn’t stop her from travelling for a medical procedure.

  4. I would not hope for much of a spirited pro-choice defense from Rudy Giuliani. There was a Republican Presidential candidate debate a week ago. Here’s what Rudy said:

    Moderator: We now go to the next segment. We’re going to talk about values. Let’s go down the line on this just like they did with the Democrats last week on some of these trickier calls, but they do have clear answers.
    Starting with you, Governor, would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for America.

    Mayor?
    Giuliani: It would be OK.
    Moderator: OK to repeal?
    Giuliani: It would be OK to repeal. It would be also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent and I think a judge has to make that decision.
    Moderator: Would it be OK if they didn’t repeal it?
    Giuliani: I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We’re a federalist system of government and states can make their own decisions.

    Moderator: Let me go back to Governor — Mayor Giuliani, because I want to give you a chance on this.
    You became very well known for standing up against the use of public funds for what many people considered indecent exhibits at the Brooklyn museum and places like that.
    Why do you support the use of public funds for abortion?
    Giuliani: I don’t. I support the Hyde amendment. I hate abortion. I wish people didn’t have abortions.
    Moderator: So you’re not for funding at all?
    Giuliani: I believe that the Hyde amendment should remain the law. States should make their decision. Some states decide to do it. Most states decide not to do it. And I think that’s the appropriate way to have this decided.
    Moderator: Should New York, when you were mayor of New York, should they have been paying for — the state should have been paying for…
    Giuliani: That’s a decision New York made a long time ago.
    And New York…
    Moderator: And where were you on that?
    Giuliani: I supported it in New York, but I think, in other places, people can come to a different decision.

    It’s hard to read that as much of a principled defense of reproductive rights.
    Giuliani is trying to walk the well-trodden path of throwing out anti-abortion code words – like “strict constructionist” (read repeal Roe v. Wade because it’s supposedly bad constitutional law) – and characterizing it as a state’s rights issue. His position on the Hyde amendment was just a sop to the anti-abortion crowd since nobody is talking about repealing it and it was upheld by the Supremes in 1980.
    But mostly Giuliani was trying to have it both ways: pass a few small anti-abortion litmus tests while avoiding the big ones. I doubt that the Republican rank and file are going to give him a pass on it.

  5. Andrew Warriner: What a weasel. And not even the nice kind of weasel. Bleagh.

  6. Andrew Warriner: What a weasel.

    Me? A weasel? A ferret, yes, but never a weasel.

  7. Yes, that didn’t come out quite right, did it? Heh.

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