Monday, February 06, 2006

I Recommend this Book!

Last Friday I went to hear Kate Michelman speak about her memoir With Liberty and Justice for All and get my book signed. I spent a few minutes talking to her, and found her utterly delightful. (This was actually the second time I met her.)

Yesterday, Za and I drove into Baltimore, as we often do on Sundays. The drive can be long sometimes, and you can only listen to so much NPR before going nuts. So, I decided to read Kate's memoir to Za during the drive.

We were both mesmerized and dazzled by her story and writing. She makes a truly compelling case for why we must keep abortion safe and legal and explains why we are now at this point of losing it.

The real thrust of her book is that protecting a women's right to choose is ultimately about protecting families and ensuring the families are heathly and stable. This is from her first chapter:

I would have been proud to devote my career to the sole cause of fighting for women's right to control our own lives. But there is even more at stake. The issue is what kind of society we want to build. The debate over reproductive rights is a cauldron for over-heated rhetoric. Individual women and children are often forgotten in the shouting. But when the rhetoric is stripped away, a simple fact remains: Society begins in a single moment--the moment a woman decides to bear a child. How we prepare for that moment determines the kind of society we will become.

This is a book about one woman's choice--my choice--how I came to terms with it, how I came to believe reproductive rights were central to women's and children's well-being, and how we can continue to create and sustain the conditions in which women and children can flourish.

It is also a book about liberty and justice. The liberty to pursue our dreams, the freedom from government intereference in the most personal aspects of our lives. And the justice of a society that values and supports every child and respects the rights of every person, no matter who they are, what they believe, or how much money they have.

This is a book about liberty and justice for women. But everyone's rights are at stake. If the government may interfere in the private lives of some of our citizens, everyone's privacy is threatened. If the government bans abortion and forces women to bear children against their will, or if we fail to support and cherish the choice to have a child, the fabric of our society is at risk. The ramifications of a woman's freedom to choose reach far beyond a single issue.

This is a matter of liberty and justice for all.