Get it over with: Abolish our rights sooner, not later

Go ahead– overturn Roe v. Wade, take away emergency contraception, take away our birth control pills. Do it now, because I can't stand it anymore– can't stand this chipping away at every reproductive right women have earned in the past century.

The neo-Puritans have all the power now, and it's what they're going to do anyway, so let's just get it over with.

Every year in Virginia our representatives introduce legislation to restrict our access to reproductive control. One bill that pops up every session would require an abortion clinic to be needlessly over-built to the specifications of a hospital– a strategy that would shut down nearly all such clinics in the state.

It hasn't passed yet, but just wait until January– when the 2005 session begins and radicals such as Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), who introduced the bill last time– return to Richmond fortified with the national red-state mandate from November 2.

Marshall is the man who, while arguing in the House of Delegates against the availability of emergency contraception on state college campuses, held up the photo of a woman allegedly conceived as the result of a rape.

He challenged his pro-emergency-contraception colleagues to telephone this woman and tell her that she was a "mistake."

That's right: This man would withhold emergency contraception from rape victims. Breathtaking, ain't it?

Another member of the state legislature likely to introduce more Dark-Ages legislation is Delegate Dick Black (R-Loudoun County) who was quoted in a Washington Times interview as calling contraceptives "baby pesticides."

Which brings us to a bill likely to resurface next month in Richmond, one that would allow any pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for birth control pills.

Why would any pharmacist refuse to fill such a prescription? Because some members of the profession believe that one of the ways in which the Pill works– preventing a fertilized ovum from implanting in the uterus–- is, in fact, an abortion.

But wait: According to the vice president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Joe DeCook, "The post-fertilization effect was purely a speculation that became truth by repetition." Now that speculation could be cemented into a law-­ one that could cause you to scurry from drugstore to drugstore, searching for someone, anyone, to fill your prescription for Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

Think this couldn't happen? According to the Pharmacists for Life International website, pharmacist Robert Semler of The Medicine Shoppe in Waynesboro has pledged "to not dispense any abortifacient drugs or devices, nor... refer for the same." It might be worth a field trip to Waynesboro, prescription in hand, just to check this out.


Just when I was thinking I can't stand any more of this, I heard about the anti-abortion provision that was stuck into that mammoth federal-spending bill last month, a provision that could have far-reaching consequences.

Previously, federal, state, and local agencies could withhold taxpayer money from any healthcare provider who refused to refer, provide, or pay for abortions for their patients.

Now those who refuse will be protected from the old financial consequences. And not only are individuals protected, but now entire HMOs and insurers can refuse these services to patients who need them.

This struggle for the right to control our own bodies has been going on for years, and now we're sliding backwards into a nightmarish time warp.

So let's hurry up and turn back the clock to the time when abortion was a do-it-yourself endeavor, when merely talking about birth control in public could get you arrested under the lewdness statute in Massachusetts– back when the fashion statement was "barefoot and pregnant."

Because, unfortunately, the average American woman is the proverbial frog in the pot of water who doesn't realize that the heat's on, and the water has been simmering for some time.

Only when the radical conservatives have turned up the heat to boiling, restricted access to birth control pills and emergency contraception, and stacked the Supreme Court with anti-choice justices who overturn Roe v. Wade will the average woman, at last, slap her forehead and say: "You mean I can't have an abortion?"

"You mean, my daughter can't get her birth control pills?"

"But I was raped, what do you mean I can't get emergency contraception?"

Only then will there be enough of us to counteract them. Until that moment of awakening, I say, turn up the heat and get it over with.