Repairing the Damage, Before Roe by Waldo Fielding M.D., in today’s New York Times is a must read and must share. Fielding is 80; his generation of doctors knows the real stories about the injustices of illegal abortion. An excerpt:
With the Supreme Court becoming more conservative, many people who support women’s right to choose an abortion fear that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave them that right, is in danger of being swept aside. When such fears arise, we often hear about the pre-Roe “bad old days.” Yet there are few physicians today who can relate to them from personal experience. I can.
I am a retired gynecologist, in my mid-80s. My early formal training in my specialty was spent in New York City, from 1948 to 1953, in two of the city’s large municipal hospitals. There I saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion…
Now it’s up to the generation now present to make the coat hanger (photos of which accompnied the article) a symbol of women’s empowerment rather than victimization.
The importance of electing a president in November who understands and will vigorously advance women’s human rights to reproductive self-determination and moral autonomy is of paramount importance. But we must also continue to stay engaged in the political process, asserting clearly to the President over and over that we expect him or her to make good on campaign rhetoric about supporting a woman’s right to to make her own childbearing decisions and to have access to the health care and information that makes rights meaningful. It is too late to fight back against the incursions that have chipped away at reproductive choice and justice. The situation calls for us to fight forward with a proactive agenda, such as I proposed in The War on Choice.
A reminder: Sen. John McCain has a 100% anti-choice voting record.
Both Sens. Clinton and Obama have 100% pro-choice voting records since they’ve been in the Senate.
Clinton is a sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act which would codify reproductive rights as civil rights and track the major provisions of Roe. She is also a prime sponsor of the Prevention First Act, which would provide additional funding and therefore access to birth control services, among other preventive education and health services. Sen. Obama is a cosponsor of this bill.
These are the two most significant pieces of proactive legislation aimed not just to restore lost access and rights but to expand them to a point where women are assured both. And that larger vision is where this debate must go.