"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


...the more things stay the same.

All evidenced by a decades-old rough draft of an editorial I once wrote and just happened to discover as I was sifting through some old newspaper clips.

I couldn't help but chuckle as I recalled pounding out the think piece on an electric typewriter, then editing it with pencil in hand, applying all those proofreading symbols I had dutifully memorized in journalism school. But that was all that was humorous about what I wrote.

The editorial -- simply titled "Reproductive Rights" -- was written on Jan. 23, 1983, the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But  it could have just as easily been written on Jan. 23, 2012, the 39th anniversary of the controversial Supreme Court decision.

With all the Republican politicians fanatically ranting against birth control and threatening to shut down Planned Parenthood and curtail access to women's reproductive health services if  they are elected come November, I've decided to reprint my editorial.

Welcome to my submission for Day 22 of  the 40 Days of Writing challenge.

Granted, it's a bit of a switch from my usual lighthearted menopausal meanderings. Just felt compelled to share a little political food for thought from back in the day as women across the country this moment are uniting to battle still those politicians who are not, and will never be, content to let women make their own decisions about their own bodies.


Just 10 years ago today, the Supreme Court overturned all criminal abortion laws in the United States in the landmark decision Roe v. Wade.

Exactly one week after that ruling, the first Human Life Amendment (HLA) was introduced in Congress. The purpose of the amendment? To overturn the Supreme Court ruling, thereby making abortion and some forms of birth control illegal, and to declare fertilized eggs as persons entitled to full constitutional rights.

The opposing factions -- reproductive rights and anti-abortion groups -- have locked horns ever since.

In 1979, the National Organization For Women (NOW) arranged a summit  meeting of the two groups, hoping to explore areas of consensus. After two meetings, once of which was reported  to have been interrupted by an anti-abortion group, no real consensus was reached.

Today, with the 10th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision at hand, one group continues to celebrate  the ruling, while the other mourns and protests.

There's no telling how this controversy will be settled, or if it will be settled. Nevertheless, reproductive rights advocates take the threat of an HLA seriously.

Never mind that more than 90 percent  have used some type of reproductive healthcare or technology. Never mind that one-third of those seeking legal abortions are 19 or younger, indicating a need for more accessible contraception. And never mind that since the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, public opinion polls have continuously shown widespread support for women's reproductive rights.

Face it, there are still men and women out there who want to turn back the clock to the "good old days" when abortions were unsafe and illegal, and birth control was even less accessible.

It should come as no surprise, really. Women have struggled  throughout history to gain control over their reproductive lives, fighting for centuries against governmental, religious and societal controls.

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