Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Recent Letters, part 1

Christine Flowers, a right-wing lawyer living in Philadelphia, wrote a column for the Philadelphia Daily News belittling the possible demise of Roe v. Wade, claiming that if overturned there would be little effect on women in general. I disagreed and wrote this letter.

Subject: "If I don't get my way I'll die"

To the Editor,

In her latest column for the Daily News, Christine Flowers is dead wrong in belittling the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade. "If I don't get my way, I'll die" is not melodramatic hyperbole from the abortion rights movement. If Roe is reversed women, and in particular poor women, will again be forced by circumstance to seek illegal back-alley abortions.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), illegal abortions are a leading cause of death for women, especially in developing nations: in Latin America for example, illegal abortions account for almost half of all maternal deaths.

US policy toward contraception and reproductive health is decidely hostile, both abroad and at home, ironically driving UP the number of women forced to seek an abortion. Ms. Flowers does not acknowledge efforts made by the right wing to limit access here in the US to reproductive health information and contraception, which help prevent abortion. She does not acknowledge the fact that the recent omnibus spending bill specifically bars states from enforcing abortion access statutes, a provision up for repeal inMarch. Nor does she acknowledge the growing number ofdoctors and pharmacists who refuse to prescribe the Pill to their patients, often for religious reasons.

Overturning Roe will limit, and will most likely prohibit, access to legal abortion. Illegal abortions will then ensue (we've already seen how successfullyProhibition worked, and its cousin the War on Drugs).

The result will be that women will die. It won't be women like Christine Flowers, who as a lawyer most likely has the assets to travel to Canada or Europe or Mexico to get an abortion. No, it will be the poorest and most vulnerable among us, as usual.


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