Reproductive Rights Issues

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From an article by Kristina Wifore in the Summer 2008 issue of Ms. magazine:

“In the arena of women’s reproductive rights, the right wing is continuing its assault this year with anti-choice ballot initiatives in four states: California, Colorado, Montana and South Dakota. Californians are being asked to pass a parental notification measure that has already failed twice; South Dakotans will be asked to approve an only slightly less draconian version of an abortion ban that failed in 2006. The “definition of personhood” initiative in Colorado—which seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade by redefining personhood as the moment of fertilization—could outlaw certain forms of birth control and ban or restrict common fertility treatments in which multiple eggs are fertilized but only some are introduced into the mother’s womb. A supporter of a similar, failed Montana initiative suggested that women could even be investigated to see what they might have done to cause their miscarriages.”

Thank God the last initiative failed. I shudder to think what is in store for us if the right-wing pro-lifers have their way. This just illustrates what a slippery slope we’re on in the area of reproductive rights.

The “definition of personhood” initiative is interesting. It doesn’t seek to establish when life begins, only when a fetus becomes a person in the sense of having legal rights. For a historical overview of definitions of personhood, go to “Abortion and Personhood: Historical and Comparative Notes,” by Dr. David L. Perry. (Dr. Perry is a Professor of Ethics and an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy who teaches courses on Biomedical Ethics and Ethics and Warfare, among others. See his c.v. here.)

For issues and initiatives in your state and others, go to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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