Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mid-Week Memo: The Abortion Debate

Last month, when we visited Fargo and spoke with three women who worked for the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, the presidential elections had not yet been decided. One of the central issues defining the cultural war--and the difference between a McCain and an Obama administration--is the issue of choice. The women who worked at Red River Women's Clinic told us that the topic is especially sensitive in the Dakotas; although there is a strong pro-choice voice, much of North and South Dakota is vehemently pro-life. Billboards like the one below (just west of Sioux Falls) weren't unusual to spot on the side of the road.

We checked back in with two of these ladies and asked them their predictions and hopes for a pro-choice, Obama presidency. They both seemed excited and hopeful.

Becca told us:
"It would be more than fair to say that all of our staff (and probably a majority of our patients) are glad to see our choice more secure with Obama as president. I have always been proud to work at the RRWC and being connected to our community, but it is frustrating to see legislation, ND, and our country move towards conservative values that leaves women with an unwanted pregnancies and people in other situations without control over their lives. Obama gives a me peace that we have a leader that I can trust and be excited about."

In response to our questions, Dena sent us a copy of a newsletter article she wrote regarding the election outcome. Here is an excerpt from her piece:

"Many of us woke up elated November 5th and for those of us who are pro-choice, a huge factor for our bright Wednesday morning was that our nation elected a pro-choice president. We elected a man who unabashedly stated 'A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.'...Obama is also a strong supporter of comprehensive sex education and government funding of family
planning...The citizens in the United States spoke loudly and clearly with the election of a pro-choice president and the defeat of anti-choice legislation in two states. With these positive changes now is the time to keep that momentum going."

Read the rest of Dena's article here.

2 comments:

GIRLdrive said...

Many of us woke up elated November 5th and for those of us who are
pro-choice a huge factor for our bright Wednesday morning was that our nation elected a pro-choice president. We elected a man who unabashedly stated “A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental
rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and
opportunity for all women.”

In addition to being a champion for choice Obama is also a strong
supporter of comprehensive sex education and government funding of family planning. This is a man who understands the importance of providing education about, and funding for, family planning. He realizes these steps are the only means to reducing unintended pregnancy and thus abortion.

In addition to the joy of waking up to a pro-choice president elect, we
also awoke that morning knowing that abortion was still safe in our
neighboring South Dakota. South Dakotan’s voted once again to defeat an attempt to ban abortion in their state. While the vote in 2006 provided no exceptions for rape or the life of the mother, the 2008 legislation attempted to address these issues. For example, if this legislation had passed, a woman who is raped would have to be able to identify her rapist
to the authorities and get DNA tests to prove that he indeed was the father. Then, and only then, could a women chose to have an abortion. I don’t have enough space in this article to explain all of the flaws with this rape “exception”, but I think it is easy to see how quickly it becomes the women’s responsibility to prove that she was raped.

In addition to the South Dakota defeat, legislation was also defeated in Colorado. Legislation in Colorado, if it had passed, would have defined a fertilized egg as a legal human being. This would have impacted not only choice but also some forms of contraception and possibly in vitro fertilization.

The citizens in the United States spoke loudly and clearly this November with the election of a pro-choice president and the defeat of anti-choice legislation in two states. With these positive changes now is the time to keep that momentum going. If you are interested in volunteering for choice there are many opportunities in the community. By getting involved you can help ensure that the next Wednesday morning after an election is a bright one.

ml johnstone said...

Hi!
I live in Canada. Up here this year ,our Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an abortion hero, received our country's highest award, the Order of Canada medallion. Yes, we were pleased and most Canadians had no problem with it, except for a few Catholic priests and some other prolifers who kicked and screamed.
I will never understand these folks and always wonder why they don't spend their time into helping care for the born who need help with their care.
I heard your Mr. McCain say: "give them to us. We'll take care of them. Seeing as how he has 10 or so houses, I guess he'd fill up those houses with all those spared babies and raise 'em up . The old man in the shoe, had so many children, he didn't know what to do.
How these people do go on, as tho' marriage was the always a slice of a prize winning fall fair apple pie.What child abuse? And quite a few weddings are not "and they all lived happily ever after stories."
Palin and company do not seem to acknowledge that overpopulation is a problem on our planet.
No respect for their founding mothers, like Margaret Sanger,eh?
So, I am lucky to be in Canada.
Because of your US generated financial crisis,we ended up with minority Conservative government who are secretly plotting, we heard in some newspapers today, to reconsider our abortion laws. I say, what a way to loose votes.
Should they try, we raging grannies will be out in full force with umbrellas and broomsticks. Silly old white men.
And you know what else? The #1 killer of youth , including children,worldwide is: AUTOMOBILE accidents.
Yours truly,
Auntie Automobile.