It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the House GOP leadership has come out strong with an anti-abortion agenda only weeks into the 112th Congress. A November meeting foreshadowed the fate of reproductive rights under the House’s new leadership: Randall Terry, an anti-abortion extremist whose work incites violence and has been called “domestic terrorism,” met with soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner’s chief of staff. In the anti-abortion world, it doesn’t get more extreme than Randall Terry.
What’s striking, and drawing less attention, is that the invigorated attack on women’s health on Capitol Hill is just the beginning. The November elections also swept in a wave of anti-choice state governments, where the fight against reproductive rights has become increasingly defined by race baiting meant to divide the pro-choice community.
I felt the contradiction and distance between the experience of women actually having abortions and the hate, lies and rhetoric of the anti-choice movement. One thing is frighteningly clear: these anti-choice folks don’t care about women. In fact, they want to punish women, make their lives more difficult, keep them from maintaining personal and bodily autonomy.
The experiences of actual women don’t even factor into these debates–they are replaced by moral showboating, empty rhetoric and misinformation.
If it wasn’t for the policies of New York State, which goes against national trends and provides access to abortion for all women, regardless of ability to pay, I wouldn’t be able to do my work as an abortion doula. Most of the women I work with at the public hospital are uninsured, most are women of color. Many are immigrants. The Hyde Amendment says they shouldn’t be able to get the procedures they want and need.
Thank you New York State for valuing the lives and choices of these women.
The sad reality is many states (including our federal House of Representatives) is going in the opposite direction.
Read more about that in my Colorlines article.