I believe in making common cause with people of all persuasions, but here’s what I learned about the quest for common ground on issues where people have diametrically opposing worldviews. Originally published at On The Issues Magazine.
The day before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was expected to rule, rumors circulated that the agency would approve Plan B One Step emergency contraception as a non-prescription item and allow it to be sold without age restrictions. Freelance writer Robin Marty predicted via e-mail, “Conservative reaction will be a total shitstorm.”
Posted in Activism, Election Watch, Feminism, Gender, Media, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Reproductive Health, Women's Rights
Tagged Anthony Comstock, common ground, EC, FDA, feminism, foca, freedom of choice act, Kathleen Sebelius, Laura Chasin, Michelle Goldberg, patriarchal culture, personhood, plan b, President Obama, Public Conversations Project, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rita Mae Brown, Robin Marty, roe v. wade, Stupak amendment, Victoria Pynchon
Today, on the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, I salute Sarah Weddington.
I first met Sarah, the lawyer who successfully argued Roe v Wade before the U.S. Supreme court when she was just 27 years old, in a church meeting room in Midland TX. Yes, the heart of George Bush country where we both had roots. It was around 1975, I was the relatively new executive director of Planned Parenthood of West Texas, then called Permian Basin Planned Parenthood, and the topic that brought together a number of family planning providers from the wide expanse of West Texas was legislation to allow nurse practioners to work in our health centers so that more women could get birth control and related health services to prevent unintended pregnancy and plan wanted ones. The demand from women desiring to plan and space their childbearing was clearly outstripping the supply of services available to them.
As a state legislator, Sarah continued her commitment to women by working tirelessly to make sure they could get access to reproductive health services. She understood that legality is one thing; access can be quite another, and rights without access are meaningless.
Sarah continues now to speak, write, teach, and work on behalf of women. Her accomplishments are legendary and too numerous to mention. But the most striking thing about Sarah is that she is such a great friend and a generous, devoted colleague in the continuing movement to secure the human rights of women to make their own childbearing decisions.