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Elaine Goldsmith Headshot

Is the Clock Turning Back for Women's Rights?

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Whether I like it or not, I am an old lady now. I won't tell you how old -- but trust me. As I watch the election, I find myself worrying about my granddaughters and great-granddaughters. Are we at risk of turning back the clock on women's rights?

When I was young, my girlfriends and I all worked to make our lives count. We wanted our bodies to be ours -- just as men's are theirs. No one can tell a man what he can or can't legally do to his body, nor should anyone tell a woman, either. We spoke out, organized, got our parents involved, and encouraged them to get their friends involved.

When Griswold v. Connecticut was decided in 1965, protecting the right to birth control, we knew change was possible. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, giving women the right to choose, we knew change had arrived. Nobody is pro-abortion -- but anyone who saw the world of back-alley abortions and botched procedures, as I did, would ever want to go back to those days.

More women can now raise a family AND enter the workforce, or raise a family AND be a full-time volunteer, as I was -- in Jewish organizations, local charities, and, for fifteen years, as chair of the board of trustees of Otis College of Art and Design. The key thing is that women should be able to choose what to do when it comes to their bodies, their careers, and their lives.

I am deeply concerned that, if Governor Romney is elected, he is just one Supreme Court justice away from turning our country back to the 1950's -- a time when, yes, good things happened -- but also a time when too many women were treated as second-class citizens. He has pledged to repeal the right to choose. He has also pledged to restrict the right of many women to access contraception.

I am not going to spend much time here about why President Obama is better for the economy or better for Israel. (And -- to my Jewish friends -- despite all the emails you've received, Israel and the United States, under this president's leadership, have never had closer military or intelligence cooperation, as Israeli President Shimon Peres has said. President Obama has united the world against Iran's nuclear program. But I digress...)

I want to speak out -- in the form of my first-ever blog -- to any undecided women who might be reading this. Don't undo what your mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to deliver. We can't go back to letting powerful men restrict the rights of women.

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