War on women reaches new heights

Attaching abortion restriction legislation to the state budget bill in Ohio was underhanded. Attaching anti-abortion legislation to a motorcycle safety bill at the last minute in North Carolina is beyond underhanded; it is absurd. In recent weeks, a number of states under Republican control have used any means necessary to restrict women’s access to abortion and reproductive health care in direct violation of Roe v. Wade.

Their motive, they say, is to protect all life. Yet in a state like Texas, that has executed 500 inmates since 1982, that motive is questionable (CBS News). And in all states that have passed or are proposing such legislation, the life of the mother seems to be of little consequence. Denying women transport to a public hospital if complications arise following an abortion does not indicate that Texas has any concern whatsoever for all life (ABC news). And what is equally disturbing is the fact that once lawmakers pass bills that force all women to carry every fertilized egg to term, these same legislators do not seem to care about the lives they are forcing into existence. This is not pro-life. This is pro-birth.

Those who are proposing anti-abortion legislation are also passing legislation to cut social services programs that provide vital support to mothers and children–including programs that help provide the poor with food, housing, and health care–thus increasing the likelihood that these children will not have their basic needs met. According to Child Maltreatment 2011, in federal fiscal year 2011 (FFY 2011) there were 3.7 million reports of child abuse or neglect made to Child Protective Services agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. Of those, it is estimated that 681,000 unique victims had substantiated cases of abuse or neglect. Victims age birth to one year had the highest rate of victimization (21.2 per 1000 children). 78.5 percent of all victims suffered neglect. 17.6 percent suffered physical abuse, and 9.1 percent suffered sexual abuse. In FFY 2011 it is estimated that 1,570 children died as a result of abuse or neglect (Child Maltreatment 2011).

This is not valuing all life. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is inhumane.

Diane DeBella

As a writer, teacher, and speaker Diane has spent over twenty years examining women’s issues. She is the author of the collective memoir *I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves*, and editor of the anthology *I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening*. As a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado, she received the CU Women Who Make a Difference Award and the CU-LEAD Alliance Faculty Appreciation Award. Through her organization I Am Subject, Diane helps us understand how we—as women—are impacted by the society in which we live. By claiming ourselves as subjects of our own lives, we become empowered and also provide strong role models for other women and girls. In healing ourselves we help others—a beautiful way for women to create nurturing, supportive communities.

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