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Kelley Bell-Wenzlaff

Kelley Bell-Wenzlaff

Posted January 22, 2009 | 12:18 PM (EST)

Happy Birthday Roe!


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On January 22, 1973 The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. This decision marks one of the most poignant testaments to equal rights ever achieved by American women. This week, as we celebrate the inauguration of HOPE, we know that dream includes you.

Happy Birthday Roe my dear. As a gift for this historic occasion The American People offer you a new Administration and a brand new Congress. In addition, we hope to add the gift of a favorable Supreme Court in the years to come. Of course that dream might take a while, and will require a huge dedicated effort on behalf of future voters to accomplish. But we can try, and we can fight for our belief, in all that you represent for us.

You've had a rough road lately, Roe. We know it's been hard. Every time you appear in a room, controversy erupts. People have picked you apart and twisted your words. The right has tried to demonize you, miss-represent you, and out right destroy you. They want us to be afraid to be seen with you, to be unsure about speaking up for you. But we will never turn our backs on you my dear. We know friend from foe.

When the overt efforts of your opponents failed, they tried to pick you apart piece by piece, like vultures feeding on a living thing. They believed if they could weaken you enough, you would eventually die, unnoticed and unmissed. But that is not going to happen, because we love you.

The majority of the American People are behind you Roe, and hold you close to our hearts. For your birthday this year, we promise to protect you, and make you stronger than ever before. We will not be complacent. We will not relent.

Women's rights groups all across the country are joining forces on your behalf as we celebrate your birthday and enter The Age of Obama. Activists like *Gloria Feldt are working hard to define a strong path for the years ahead. In her landmark book The War on Choice Feldt exposes the urgent need for vigilance, stating:

The Right wing has devised a multipronged battery of assaults-many so obscure or buried in bureaucracy that they go undetected by the media--to take away our reproductive freedoms. It's time for us to name those assaults, to connect the dots, and to realize that our rights to privacy and self-determination are on the line. Unless we do something now, it will be too late.

Feldt's book demonstrates how the protections of the Roe decision have "been de-facto overturned" as the right wing religious radicals have passed a tsunami of legislation to take away public funding for family planning and prevention, to replace medically accurate sex education for "abstinence-only" theocracy, and stacking the lower courts, school boards, and scientific committees all over the country with anti-choice operatives.

For your birthday Roe, we will heal your wounds, and come together to make you stronger than ever before. We know what needs to happen next. We need to build upon your precedents' of right to privacy, and take the argument to an even higher moral ground of Civil Rights legislation; one that Feldt refers to as protection of "a woman's right to total personhood with a right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

In her recent and widely acclaimed essay Beyond Roe Towards Human Rights For Women, Feldt lays out our action plan:

A woman's right to her own life and body has to be elevated to the moral position that supports a human rights framework. This framework must be translatable into civil rights-based legislation that gives access to relevant healthcare, education, supportive counseling, and economic justice, through policies that will be upheld by courts reshaped by presidents who speak without apology about the legitimacy of women's reproductive self-determination...Obama should assume leadership on the new reproductive justice agenda, including but not limited to the Freedom of Choice Act, Prevention First Act, and inclusion of the full range of reproductive health care in any expanded or universal health plans.

For your Birthday Roe, we promise to rebuild. We will mix new mortar, and repair the damage to your foundation, making you stronger than ever before. We will all pitch in, and unite our voices, for we know the job requires the courageous and concerted efforts of us all.

Happy Birthday Roe. This day, we celebrate for you.


*Gloria Feldt is a womens rights activist, author, and former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To read more of her work visit www.GloriaFeldt.com and Heartfeldt Politics Blog
And don't forget to Send Yourself Roses!

Links to articles:
Beyond-Roe-Toward Human Rights for Women

Barefoot and Pregnant

For more content from Kelley Bell, visit www.Applesassy.com