Illinois action blog

Friday, May 16, 2008

Katha Pollit on the state of feminism today

Katha Pollit, a writer for the magazine The Nation has a great Op-Ed in the Chicago Tribune this week about the state of feminism today. She touches on everything from the recent Supreme Court decision on pay discrimination to Miley Cyrus.

I thought this part on women’s reproductive health was particularly sharp:

In other anti-choice news, an abortion ban will be on the ballot again in South Dakota, this time with narrow exceptions for rape and incest. And mark June 7 on your calendar—it's Protest the Pill day, brought to you by the American Life League and other anti-choice groups, which claim, despite the evidence, that "the Pill kills babies" by preventing implantation of fertilized eggs.
Maybe it's good that the anti-choice movement is outing itself as opposed to contraception—as pro-choicers have long maintained and not many pundits have noted—because it also shows that they believe they can come out of the closet and not be dismissed as lunatics. Look for more struggles over government birth-control funding—already way down, thanks to budget cuts and inflation—as the anti-choicers move the goal posts of how "life" is defined.

Pollit certainly does offer some good reasons for pessimism. I was reading the other day about the 1916 police raid on Margaret Sanger’s family planning clinic in Brooklyn where she and her sister were arrested for disseminating information to patients about contraception. It’s amazing to me that almost 100 years later, it seems like little has changed. (Although even in the 1900s, opponents of contraception would never have argued that birth control “kills babies”—they were part of the movement against “vice” that would later succeed in outlawing alcohol with prohibition.)

At the same time, there are reasons to be optimistic. A poll conducted just this month by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association found that 88 percent of voters, including four in five Republicans, support women’s access to contraception, and 86 percent support Title X, the government public health program that funds state and local family planning agencies that provide contraception to low-income women.

Find out more about what Planned Parenthood is doing to protect women’s access to contraception and get involved here. And if you know any college students still looking for something to do over the summer, make sure to let them know about the Reproductive Justice Outreach Team. Email or call 312.592.6890 to request an information packet before positions fill up!

Technorati tags: birth control, reproductive rights, internship

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