Friday, November 04, 2005

My rights are not less important than your rights

No, I can not wait until the rest of the mess is sorted out before I am “allowed” to assert rights over myself, my personhood, my life. And how dare you suggest that I should?

My rights, as a woman, as a queer, are NOT to be considered some sort of “fringe benefit”, the “cream” of living in a “free society”. My rights are fucking integral to that free society!

Every other Friday morning I co-host Positively Revolting Talk Radio on KBOO ( or 90.7 FM, Portland). This morning’s discussion focused on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court; it seems to me that the appointment of a far right conservative who has a track record that is anti-choice, into a pivotal seat on the court is a big hairy deal. The discussion was varied and lively, but throughout the discussion, I was becoming increasingly alarmed by an attitude displayed be almost every male caller—an attitude that warned Alito’s nomination is a smoke screen, there are (sensitive vegan souls, please pardon the phrase) more important fish to fry at this time.

Say what?

During Alito’s time on The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, in 1992, a case went before them called Pennsylvania v. Casey. This is a synopsis of that case from Wikipedia:

Four provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 were being challenged as unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, which first recognized a constitutional right to have an abortion in the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The "informed consent" rule under the Act required doctors to provide women with information about the health risks and possible complications of having an abortion before one could be performed. The "spousal notification" rule required women to give prior notice to their husbands, and the "parental notification" rule required the same of minors to their parents. The fourth provision imposed a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion. When the case came before the Court on review, Pennsylvania defended the Act in part by urging the Court to overturn Roe as having been wrongly decided.
The district court held that all the provisions were unconstitutional and entered a permanent injunction against Pennsylvania's enforcement of them, and it was appealed to The Third District Court.

Next, (again, from Wikipedia):

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, upholding all of the regulations except for the husband notification requirement. Future Supreme Court nominee, Judge Samuel Alito, sat on that three-judge appellate panel and dissented from the court's invalidation of that requirement.


Gee whiz, why is that so important to me? Because requiring a woman to receive permission from her spouse before receiving medical services is to treat women as chattel—no inherent, unalienable right to liberty, but only such “rights” as granted her by her master and ruler (oh, I am sorry, I meant caring helpmate). Because a man holding that view has just been nominated to the high court of the land, to a seat that could well cast the deciding vote on this and many other issues that will effect how our freedoms our meted out—which parts of the constitution we might honor, if it’s not to politically inconvenient.

No, this is not less important than the rest of the human rights we seek to gain and insure through our active vigilance. No, a woman’s right over her body is not something that we argue for after we make other, more acceptable gains. No, a woman’s reproductive freedom is not a fucking negotiating chip—it is a fundamental and unalienable right.

Abortion on demand and without apology.

Because women matter as much as men.

Solidarity now.