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Women's rights: Let's abort the bills proposed by Christopher H. Smith, Joe Pitts and Mike Pence

February 9, 2011 |  1:20 pm

Planned Parenthood

I was riveted by Hanna Rosin's July/August cover story for the Atlantic Monthly, "The End of Men," about how women came to outpace men in a post-Industrial America. I read it twice, and forced everyone I know to read it as well. While there were elements of Rosin's reporting that made me want to wave my feminist flag up high, mostly I felt bad for our young men entering a new world that might not have a place for them. What women want -- have always wanted -- is equality. (Reference Sweden.)

But then there are politicians and lawmakers such as Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), who’s pushing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), who’s sponsoring Protect Life Act, who remind women that we still have to fight for our rights. It may be easier for us to get a job in 2011, but there’s still the threat that we may not be able to make our own medical decisions.

In Wednesday's Opinion pages, the editorial board weighs in with "Chipping away abortion rights." They write:

Abortion is a legally protected medical procedure. And though the federal government can legitimately limit what it will pay for in the way of healthcare for budgetary reasons, congressional opposition to abortion has nothing to do with its cost; the procedure is less expensive than carrying a pregnancy to term. Congress should not rewrite tax law so as to interfere with private and personal health insurance decisions made by patients, their employers and insurance companies.

And then there's Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who's sponsoring a bill to bar the government from funding any organization that offers abortions. Addressing the issue in "The Siege of Planned Parenthood," the New York Times' Gail Collins snaps back, "Planned Parenthood doesn’t use government money to provide abortions; Congress already prohibits that, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother." She continues:

But here's the most notable thing about this whole debate: The people trying to put Planned Parenthood out of business do not seem concerned about what would happen to the 1.85 million low-income women who get family-planning help and medical care at the clinics each year. It just doesn’t come up. There’s not even a vague contingency plan.

"I haven't seen that they want to propose an alternative," said Richards.

There are tens of millions of Americans who oppose abortion because of deeply held moral principles. But they’re attached to a political movement that sometimes seems to have come unmoored from any concern for life after birth.

On our comments board, "Surreptitious" offers:

If we roll back abortion rights, men need to assume more responsibility for their actions. It takes two to get pregnant. Where is the accountability?

While it's valid to point out that men should take accountability for their actions, we can't expect it. And, of course, there are those unfair situations where a woman makes a decision to terminate a pregnancy despite her partner's wishes. Yet that doesn't begin to address extenuating circumstances such as rape. Ultimately, though, it's a woman's body, and it's her decision. We shouldn't have to keep fighting the same fight.


Chipping away abortion rights

Rape flourishes in rubble of Haitian earthquake

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: A statue representing women's empowerment stands in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Tucson, Ariz. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

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