Friday, January 05, 2007

30 Years is Enough!

Women's eNews has a great article on the departure of Henry Hyde, the architect of the Hyde Amendment, from the House. The Hyde Amendment basically made the Roe decision meaningless for millions of women in poverty, prison, or working for Government agencies.

In 1976 Hyde spearheaded the "Hyde Amendment," which inspired later laws that expanded the funding ban to additional federal health care programs. Collectively, those laws affect female members of the military and their families, Peace Corps volunteers, federal prisoners, Native Americans, women who receive federal disability payments and some federal employees through restrictions on their health coverage.

While a new Democratic Congress is good news for Pro-choice, it is doubtful that they will have the ability to repeal this amendment. Nonetheless, it is heartening to see this issue on the table and energized by so many women's organizations. For more information on this campaign, go to here.

Today I volunteered to give my WJ Bryan Henrie talk at an International Women's Day celebration in a small town near Gettysburg. The talk is sponsored by a feminist organization--the YWCA (admittedly, many board members have lost sight of the fact it is a feminist organization). The motto is "Empowering Women and Eliminating Racism." And yet, the director made plain that the board would never approve of a talk about abortion, whether or not it was pro-life or pro-choice. While I wasn't surprised that the board wouldn't approve the talk, I am nonetheless outraged that this organization won't even consider how central of an issue reproductive rights is to women worldwide.

It seems that precisely because our small towns are conservative that they need to be better educated on the affects of the Hyde Amendment and the Global Gag rule on women worldwide. Why is it that we have to pick and choose which issues are "safe" to discuss on such a day? Apparently domestic violence is an OK issue, but women seeking abortions who have been abused is not. Go figure.