Friday, July 16, 2004

Anti-Choice Machinations

Ever since a Supreme Court decision in the '70s ruled that women in the U.S. really should have some control over their own bodies, the right has worked hard to take that choice away. Earlier this week I heard about a shocking victory for those forces, scored as everyone was paying attention to the attempted discrimination against queer people taking place in the U.S. Senate.

In essence, now health care companies can order anyone in their employ to never give women the information they would need to make informed choices about reproductive health. Though this ammendment to a massive spending bill in the House Appropriations Committee uses the language of conscience, it has nothing to do with individual doctors -- individual medical practitioners already have every right to exercise their conscience around these issues. What this ammendment does is attribute conscience to corporate institutions, who can then enforce their will on the hundreds or even thousands of doctors who depend on them for a paycheque, and thereby deprive women of the information they need to adequately exercise their consciences. So what does that say about who matters more in this country, corporations or women?

The bill still has to pass the full House and the Senate, and so this measure can still be defeated.

(By the way, I heard about this on KPFK, my new favourite radio station, on Beneath The Surface with Jerry Quickly. They broadcast on the web, and their consistent high quality of progressive spoken-word programming is worth checking out!)

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