Magazine article The Progressive

Abortion under Fire

Magazine article The Progressive

Abortion under Fire

Article excerpt

A woman's right to choose abortion is in serious jeopardy throughout the United States. In a report entitled The Road to the Back Alley, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) points out that the 104th Congress has racked up the most anti-choice voting record in history. And, last year, in state-houses around the nation, legislative assaults on women's reproductive rights reached record levels.

Even as curtailing abortion rights becomes a major campaign issue in the Republican primary, President Clinton has been signing away access to abortion bit by bit. Federal employees and women in the military no longer have health insurance that covers abortion, and Clinton has yielded to rightwing pressure to cut funds for international family planning.

This steady erosion of abortion rights has been the pro-life movement's strategy for years. Now it is paying off.

Pundits and politicians who describe themselves as pro-choice have been strangely complicit in the effort to chip away at abortion rights.

Naomi Wolf and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, two writers who present themselves as supporters of women's equality, have both argued recently that feminists ought to take a softer line on abortion.

Fox-Genovese bemoans the Supreme Court's decision, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, not to require a married woman to obtain her husband's permission before getting an abortion. By refusing to acknowledge men's roles, she writes in her recent book, the Court "implicitly labeled reproduction as solely the responsibility of women."

Wolf claimed, absurdly, in The New Republic, that the pro-choice movement would win more people to its side, and advance the cause of abortion rights, if it publicly declared that abortion is immoral.

This is exactly the kind of thinking that got us where we are today, with access to abortion seriously threatened in all fifty states. …

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