I'll Be the One at BlogHer '06 Wearing the Reproductive Rights T-Shirts

BlogHer Original Post

The Anonymous Blogger scooped me on this topic, but I wanted to add my two cents.

Once again, the American Judeo-Christian Taliban strikes a blow to democracy. I just wish that Americans would already admit that it is not actual freedom that we value here, but rather the freedom of the dominant to force other to live their lives the way those with power see fit. Yesterday, the Senate foolishly passed the “Child Custody Protection Act,� which institutes several vile prohibitions, most of which are not discussed in the mainstream media because it sucks:

1. Any one other than a parent—including a grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or member of the clergy— does not count as a responsible adult who can accompany a young woman across state lines for an abortion.

2. Any one other than a parent who accompanies a young woman over state lines to help her obtain an abortion will be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a crime. (See you in the slammer, granny.)

3. If a young woman travels from one state to another for an abortion, no matter what the reason (for example, perhaps a young woman lives closer to a clinic in New York than in Connecticut), the clinic must comply with the laws of her home state. Meaning: the law travels with her. Ridiculous. Do state minimum wage laws travel with people when they commute from one state to another? Of course not. It is fucking unconstitutional, you dumb assholes. Where are all the “state’s rights� advocates on this issue? Oh, I see. When your state is imposing its morality on mine, then it is OK, but if my state wants to impose our human rights laws on yours, it is the worst constitutional violation possible.

Should young women have a responsible adult help them in a time of trouble? Probably, but the world is more complicated than mandating that person be a parent or worse, both parents. Good luck to those young women who have not seen one of their parents in years due to abandonment. Good luck to those young women raped by a family member. Good luck to those young women in abusive homes.

Of course, no one should be forced to bear a child against her will, but as usual, the most vulnerable members of society are put at the greatest risk by these laws. In fact, these are the people we should be encouraging not to have children because – guess what? – those kids will also be in danger. (Bring on the back alley abortions, and good luck!)

One thing I never understood is why bearing and raising a child is considered a suitable punishment for women who have sex. Sure, adoption is an option, but usually I hear things from the religious right like, “You play, you pay,� or “You have to take responsibility,� (to me, being responsible is to not have a kid that you are not emotionally, mentally, or financially ready for, but I guess I am an idiot) which sounds very much like focusing on the punishment aspects. If you give the kid up for adoption, this rhetoric also seems to imply that you are copping out and not paying your dues for your transgression. (Note: this never seems to apply to men.)

Fuck that. Having a child is a privilege, not a punishment. It sickens me that people would consider forcing someone to raise a child as a punishment. It sickens me that many of these same people who force women who are not ready for a child (or another child) to bear them regardless and then strike down the proper supports (health insurance, child care, food stamps, WIC, decent school funding, etc.) for the child that is supposed to have a “right to life.� The truth comes out in how these people describe women and their subsequent lack of interest in helping the resulting children live: it is not enough for the mother to be punished for having sex, but the child must also suffer for his/her unplanned status.

Of course, not all religious leaders or faiths prohibit abortion. Faith and Policy Blog notes that the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights finds the law “dangerous� and further notes:

While most young women notify their parents about their unintended pregnancy, some fear letting their parents know about their request for an abortion. If CCPA becomes law, some teenagers may seek illegal, unsafe ways to end an unwanted pregnancy.

Kyria Greene alerted readers her blog readers to information she received in a letter from NOW

In many instances, it will actually interfere with how parents choose to raise their children. It also violates basic constitutional principles of federalism, reproductive rights, due process, equal protection and the right to travel.

The House version of this law is even more draconian. If a young woman from a state with no parental notification laws enters a state with no parental notification laws, then a federal parental notification law ticks in, essentially in contradiction to the previous idea that a state’s laws travel with a young woman. Once again, only one set of values from one group of people is imposed upon everyone, again at the expense of state and individual rights.

I’m taking a minor stand: at the BlogHer ’06 conference, I’ll be the one wearing a reproductive rights t-shirt every day (and probably a sweater, because I get cold easily and hotels tend to be overly air conditioned.)

Suzanne also blogs at The Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants

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