Abortion Rights are Human Rights

December 19, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Gloria Feldt recently reviewed the book Our Bodies, Our Crimes for the journal Democracy.  Her article, however, is much more than a book review.  It is an historical overview of the reproductive rights movement, an analysis of current political trends, and, most of all, a call to action. Needless to say, we had to share!  Criticizing current pop culture depictions of unplanned pregnancies, Feldt writes, “if the realities of abortion are often overlooked, its potency as a political weapon for the Right remains strong.”  This election season, two states voted on ballot initiatives that would have limited women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care.  In Colorado, Amendment 48 would have granted full legal rights to fetuses and South Dakota once again faced an outright ban on abortion services.  Even though both initiatives were soundly defeated, Feldt states, “Like water on porous stone, the Right has slowly eroded the vulnerable legal protections of Griswold and Roe.” Feldt continues,

After decades of defending Roe, the women’s movement must address the question it has long avoided: the value of a woman and her life. Roe was a meaningful and necessary advance, but its grounding in privacy rights portended that it could not stand forever. It is well past time for the women’s movement, not just policy makers, to set a bold new agenda based on justice and human rights and secure the policies and social support that make rights meaningful. Even with a victorious election season—defeating several anti-choice state ballot initiatives and putting a pro-choice President in the White House—reproductive rights are not secure.  As Feldt points out, the majority of lower Federal Courts are dominated by anti-choice proponents and the rights secured under Roe hang by a thread.  To move forward, Feldt renews the call for utilizing a social justice framework to give women’s rights meaning.  Read the rest of her article here.

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