Thursday, December 4, 2008

“He’s Cirsumvrenting the Law!”*

by Jordan Kisner

I know Chloe and Laura already touched on this, but I want to take another moment to reflect on the new Bush administration law regarding reproductive healthcare. This law is merely the latest of a string of Bush administration attempts to deny women the right to abortions by limiting their access rather than challenging Roe v. Wade in the courts. The strategy is a clever one: rather than meeting the controversial issue head-on by way of a direct legal and ideological challenge to a woman’s right to choose, President Bush has instead instituted a series of laws that have made it harder and harder for women (particularly lower-income, uninsured women) to take advantage of their legal right to this procedure, either through funding cuts, allowing doctors to “opt out” limiting the number of sites where abortions are available.

This most recent proposal takes this pattern to a new and inexcusable low. By allowing anyone involved in a medical scenario to refuse to participate in a medical procedure because of moral reservations, President Bush has jeopardized women’s access to abortion, birth control, infertility treatments and even routine gynecological procedures like the HPV vaccine or STI testing. Think about it: now is it legal for a doctor to refuse to give an unmarried woman the HPV vaccine because s/he thinks it encourages premarital sex. Sure, it’s insane, and sure, it’s unlikely. But now it’s legal.

Think for a moment about what the Bush administration’s pattern of undermining women’s legal right to reproductive healthcare means for you, your sister and your friends, and women all across the country. Think about it, and then, if you are so inclined, speak up about it. Check out the NOW Foundation website for ideas about how to take action.

*Obligatory Arrested Development reference. Too good to pass up.

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