Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Roberts Court shows its contempt for women

There ought to be a law that says even Supreme Court Justices can’t practice medicine without a license. The Roberts Court clearly demonstrated its contempt for women and women’s health with today’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart.

For the first time since Roe, this ban has no exception for the health of the woman. For the first time since Roe a physician can face criminal charges for performing a medical procedure that would be in the best interest of safeguarding the patient’s health.

In a 5-4 decision the Justices basically said we don’t care if continuing a pregnancy would threaten your life, or possibly cause complications that could prevent you from conceiving a child in the future. We don’t care if the best procedure for your circumstances is the procedure now banned. If you doctor does what is in your best interest, he or she would face penalties of up to two years in prison.

In their alert today, the Feminist Majority said:
Today's devastating 5-4 decision by the Bush-stacked Supreme Court is a historical decision on abortion and women's rights and is a direct assault on Roe v. Wade. This decision greatly increases the challenges and work of the feminist movement, as it fundamentally undermines women's health protection and makes politicians -- not doctors -- the decision-makers and arbitrators of women's health and access to abortion and family planning services.

This is an open invitation for state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to further restrict abortion and to interfere with women's health decisions.
FM’s recommendations are that:

• We must make this an election issue.
• We must stop the stacking of the Supreme Court by President Bush.
• We must increase the pro-choice votes in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and state legislatures.
• And we must work to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which will codify Roe so that it cannot be further assaulted.

A statement released by FM President Eleanor Smeal said:

In upholding the Bush Administration's abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart, the Bush-stacked majority of the U.S. Supreme Court showed its true colors: that it does not care about the health, well-being, and safety of American women. In this first decision on abortion of the newly constituted majority, without Sandra Day O'Connor, Bush appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito did what they were put on the Court to do—strike a blow against women's fundamental right to choose abortion.

This propels women's right to abortion and birth control to the center of the 2008 presidential election. Elections matter: this ban is a direct consequence of a Republican, ideologically driven president and Congress, which ignored the science-based opinions of such leading medical authorities as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in passing this ban and signing it into law.

Already, the decision in Gonzales v. Carhart will mean that women with troubled pregnancies will be forced into more dangerous situations, putting their future ability to have safe and healthy pregnancies at risk. Older women will be especially affected, as amniocentesis results are released later in the pregnancy. The health and safety of adolescents and pre-teens will also be more at risk, as they are often forced to delay their decisions about whether to abort because of lack of control over their own lives or inadequate funds.

This case must serve as a wake-up call to American women that their right to a safe, legal abortion is not only being chipped away, but frontally assaulted. Principled supporters of women's health and safety in the Senate must stand up against any future Bush appointments to the Supreme Court who will not uphold Roe v. Wade and preserve women's fundamental rights, because women's lives are on the line.
I agree with everything Ellie said, with the possible exception of this being a “wake-up call” for American women. We got our wake-up call the day George W. Bush first took the oath of office, and the snooze alarm went off twice with the confirmations of Roberts and Alito.

Now that we know we cannot count on the Court to protect us, this is a political fight. From this moment on we must ONLY support candidates who support FULL reproductive health care for women.

From this moment on, anyone running for President, Congress, governor, state legislator, mayor, city or county commissioner, school board or dog catcher must ALL support the full spectrum of reproductive health care available to women -- including safe and legal abortion.

We’ve got to vote as if our lives depend on it … because they do.

1 comment:

P M Prescott said...

This is not a wake-up call to those engaged in the fight, but is an eye opener to the ambivalent, apathetic and disinterested to voted the last twenty years for Republicans based on attack ads and smear campaigns without thinking through the results.