When John Roberts was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pro-choice women—and men, I might add—everywhere held their breath. When Samuel Alito was appointed a mere year later, they started praying.
The threat to take away women’s reproductive choices has been imminent and ominous since George W. Bush sidled into office, but this last year has proven to be nearly fatal when it comes to one of our most basic freedoms: The right to choose what’s best for our own bodies.
The Supreme Court appointments of two notoriously anti-abortion figures comes at a time when abstinence-only education, which has never been proven to be effective, is favored over safe-sex education by the government; when the government is, in fact, distributing misinformation to the public on condoms and other safe-sex practices (see 4parents.gov, which claims condoms have a failure rate of 15 percent, when it's actually 2 percent); when the Food and Drug Administration has failed after three years of hearings to make a decision on whether to allow the morning-after pill to be made over-the-counter, despite repeated recommendations by its own scientists to do so; when women with prescriptions for the morning-after pill are being turned away by pharmacists; when South Dakota has passed a law making all abortions illegal, regardless of health concerns, rape or incest; when 13 other states are considering similar legislation. It is a dangerous time.
For now, we are somewhat safe. South Dakota’s ban, including any similar bans passed in other states, cannot be implemented unless Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court case establishing all laws against abortion as unconstitutional, is overturned. Unfortunately, with the appointments of Roberts and now Alito, such a fate is possible, if not probable.
The sliver of hope? The Freedom of Choice Act, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), which would protect women’s right to choose even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. If you support in women’s health and reproductive freedom, contact your representatives in Congress to ask them to cosponsor this crucial bill.