Tomorrow marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman's constitutional right to choose abortion. To mark the anniversary, NARAL Pro-Choice America once again invites pro-choice bloggers and activists to join us today for Blog for Choice Day!
Blog for Choice Day gets people reading and talking about reproductive rights online on one of the most important days surrounding a woman's right to choose.
Our Blog for Choice Day 2011 question is: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
As president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, I answer that question with a resounding "yes." From Washington, D.C. to statehouses across the country, pro-choice Americans have our work cut out for us this year if we're going to protect a woman's right to choose.
As speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, R-Ohio, is now the most powerful anti-choice politician in the country. Just yesterday, Boehner called restricting women's access to abortion care one of his "highest legislative priorities." Boehner is not just paying lip service to his base; he has already made good on this threat.
On Wednesday, the anti-choice majority in the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The health-care law covers prenatal care for women and holds the promise of no-cost birth control. Although imperfect, specifically with regards to its abortion-coverage restrictions, this landmark law would positively impact women's lives for generations to come.
Repealing health-care reform was just their opening act. On Thursday, anti-choice Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., introduced the "Stupak on Steroids" bill. The bill received the designation H.R. 3, signaling its importance to the anti-choice leadership.
"Stupak on Steroids" is a very serious threat to women's access to abortion. It would force you and your family to pay more taxes if your health plan covers abortion, jeopardize abortion coverage in the private market, and make it even more difficult for rape and incest survivors who rely on the government for their health care to access abortion services.
In addition to "Stupak on Steroids," we are also ramping up efforts to defeat a bill from Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., that would dismantle the country's family-planning network, and take away women's access to basic health-care services, including birth control and cancer screenings.
Attacks on choice aren't just coming at the federal level. Anti-choice politicians in the states are threatening a whole laundry list of bills that interfere with women's health and privacy, from abortion-coverage bans to measures that would force women to view an ultrasound before she can access abortion care - even if she doesn't ask for it or if her doctor doesn't recommend it. There are now 15 states with fully anti-choice governments (both chambers of the legislature and the governor are anti-choice). That's up from 10 last year.
In Indiana, one legislator was recently asked about the disconnect between the public's focus on fixing the economy and his fixation with attacking choice. This legislator claimed he could do both; he called it a form of multitasking.
Multitasking? Perhaps another word for it is hypocrisy.
Let's take Sam Brownback, the new anti-choice governor of Kansas, who delivered his state of the state address last week. There was hypocrisy on two fronts. On one hand, Gov. Brownback said it was time to rein in the reach of government, yet he called for an anti-choice agenda that would allow politicians to interfere in a woman's right to choose. While calling for a "culture of life," Gov. Brownback also proposed deep cuts to education programs that benefit children and families. Expect even more obstacles for women's access to abortion and birth control now that the Sunflower State has an anti-choice governor.
In all of these cases, there is a disconnect between the public's priorities and what we're seeing from anti-choice lawmakers. Remember all those election promises about job creation, fiscal responsibility, and "limited government"? I sure do. But what we're seeing in Washington, D.C. and many legislatures across the country is more government interference in our personal, private lives, not less.
Help us get people talking about choice today by joining us in Blog for Choice Day! Whether you are keeping an eye on your new governor, the anti-choice protesters at the clinic closest to you, or your member of Congress, we just ask that you write from your heart about what concerns you most given the new political landscape.
Follow Nancy Keenan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NARAL