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.