Boulder Weekly on Facebook Boulder Weekly on Twitter Boulder Weekly on Tumblr Boulder Weekly's RSS feed Email Contact

Find Local Events (pick a date)
 
Browse Boulder real estate by neighborhood, school and zip code along with other homes for sale in Colorado on COhomefinder.com
Browse Boulder real estate by neighborhood, school and zip code along with other homes for sale in Colorado on COhomefinder.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Home / Articles / Views / Uncensored /  Dems shouldn’t smirk over Santorum
. . . . . . .
Give Through iGivefirst
Thursday, February 23,2012

Dems shouldn’t smirk over Santorum

By Pamela White

In 1981, when I was a high school junior, a law was passed in the United States that made it illegal for lenders to discriminate according to sex or marital status. The law — called the Equal Credit Opportunity Act — grew out of the fact that women found themselves facing unwarranted rejection when they tried to buy property or automobiles without a father or husband’s signature to go with their own. At the time, single women represented only 11 percent of homeowners, and that was an increase caused by a surge in women’s independence and personal wealth.

 

That surge was itself caused or deeply influenced by a Supreme Court ruling handed down in 1965, the year after I was born, Griswold v. Connecticut, that gave women free access to the pill and other contraceptives. Women’s reproductive liberty and ability to lead a life of independence and prosperity are inexorably linked.

I hope young women reading this column will reflect on those dates. To someone born in 1990, the years 1965 and 1981 might seem like ancient history, but they are not. These changes took place while their mothers and fathers were young. Thanks to conservative religionists like Rick Santorum, they may be relegated to the past.

The pro-choice community is sometimes guilty of viewing small challenges to a woman’s right to choose abortion as monumental threats, but what is happening right now in America is a monumental threat, not to women’s fertility, but also women’s liberty and independence.

Lawmakers in Oklahoma and Virginia are on the brink of passing “personhood” amendments like the one Colorado voters have twice rejected that would give full rights to fertilized eggs and ban not only abortion, but also the pill, the morning-after pill and certain fertility treatments. One chamber in each of these states has already passed the measure, putting it one vote and one gubernatorial signature away from becoming law and setting the stage for a showdown over Roe v. Wade and Griswold.

At the same time, we have a presidential hopeful who is gaining — yes, gaining — in the polls by saying that states should have the right to outlaw contraception because contraception leads to immorality; who opposes abortion in all instances; and who most recently said he opposes prenatal testing because it gives parents the option to abort malformed fetuses.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives holds hearings about contraception and invites only men. Although the topic was ostensibly the impact on religious liberty of President Obama’s soon-to-be abandoned mandate that all women have access to contraception, the fact that only men were represented says a great deal about the violently patriarchal nature of fundamentalist religion in the United States.

It’s temping to want to look at recent events and dismiss the attack on women’s reproductive liberty as the death rattle of religious conservativism that is desperately out of touch with even its own constituents. After all, polls show that 58 percent of even Catholic women don’t agree with Santorum about contraception, much less prenatal screening. And more Americans believe abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances than oppose abortion outright. Together with those who are solidly pro-choice, that’s a majority in favor of some protections for abortion.

But it would be a grave mistake to not take the situation seriously. Although the majority of Americans support a woman’s right to use contraception and even her right to have an abortion under some circumstances, there are plenty of people who care more about getting Obama out of the White House than protecting young women’s reproductive freedom and the improved health and economic vitality that go with it.

Remember what so many of us said in 2004? The battle cry then was, “Anyone but Bush.” Among older conservatives who missed out on the sexual revolution and for whom reproduction is a dried-up memory, the medieval ramblings of Santorum are far more tolerable than another four years of Obama.

When a state house of representatives votes 34 to 8, as Oklahoma’s House did, to outlaw the pill and abortion under all circumstances, it’s time to act.

To support Virginians fighting for contraceptive liberty, go to http://t.co/f6PBwhiy. To stop Oklahoma’s war on women, go visit ocrj.org.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
POST A COMMENT
No Registration Required
 
Close
Close