FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s War on Women’s Rights

George W. Bush’s warm greeting to the throngs of anti-abortion protesters massed in Washington, D.C., on January 22–the 30th anniversary of legal abortion in the U.S.–signaled the escalation of a war on women’s rights that began on his first day in office.

As Bush’s first presidential act in 2001, he launched a global assault on abortion rights by reimposing the Reagan-era “gag” rule–overturned by Bill Clinton–that bars U.S. funds to any family planning agency that even mentions abortion during counseling, even if it uses its own money to do so.

Last year, the Bush administration withdrew U.S. support for the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. And last July, Bush blocked $34 million in U.S. funding–previously approved by Congress–for the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), an agency that does not offer abortion, but provides maternity health services to poor women without access to hospitals. The UNPF provides emergency birthing kits to Afghan women, who have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world–the very women, in fact, that Bush claimed to be “liberating” last year.

Poor women suffer inside the U.S. as well. Most states deny Medicaid payments for most abortions for poor women, even when they have cancer or diabetes.

Beneath Bush’s rhetoric about compassionate conservatism, he is a raving right-winger, eager to please his constituents in the Christian Right. Bush plans to sign into law new restrictions on abortion in the coming months–starting with a ban on late-term abortions already passed by the House and a ban on “transporting a minor across state lines” to obtain an abortion. Bush has made no secret of the fact that his real goal is overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

But the administration faces a serious obstacle in doing so–a consistent majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal. This isn’t surprising, since one-third of all women in the U.S. will have an abortion before the age of 45.

What is lacking, however, is a movement that can galvanize the pro-choice majority into a fighting force to defend abortion rights. The existing pro-choice organizations, like the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), long ago abandoned this focus. In fact, NARAL has already launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to elect a pro-choice president in 2004–and changed its name to NARAL Pro-Choice America to underscore this emphasis.

When thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators rallied in Washington on January 22, NARAL organizers were too busy to organize a pro-choice rally. They were holding an expensive dinner for Democratic presidential hopefuls instead.

That same week, the New York Times carried an op-ed article co-authored by a pro- and anti-abortion activist, titled “The Right to Agree.” The authors argued that those on both sides of the abortion issue should abandon “old” and “tired” animosities and work together on issues of agreement, such as promoting abstinence. Yet abstinence programs are part and parcel of the Christian Right agenda, aimed at turning back the clock on women’s rights.

The Washington Post recently documented the sort of “morality” promoted by one abstinence “educator” in Lubbock, Texas: “Will this condom protect your reputation?” a middle-aged man warned an auditorium of eighth-graders. “You’ll still be known as a slut.” The pro-choice movement should be fighting against everything the Christian Right stands for–not desperately seeking points of agreement to try to win votes for Democrats.

Mass protest was part of a movement for women’s liberation that won legal abortion in 1973. At the time, another raving right-winger–Richard Nixon–occupied the White House, and the Supreme Court was packed with conservative appointees. Far from “old” and “tired,” a clear and confident pro-choice movement is exactly what is needed.

 

More articles by:
April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail