I saw an alarming graph posted to an anti-abortion site called AbortionDocs.org which boasted that 70% of clinics providing abortions had been closed since 1991 (or 2176 clinics to 660). Since I refuse to link to an anti-abortion site or re-post their alarmist propaganda, you’ll have to take my word for it on the graph. (But it’s out there with a simple web search, if you simply must see it with your own eyes.)
[UPDATE: 7/17/12] I have confirmed credible numbers from a source at Guttmacher Institute. According to their surveys, there were 837 providers (defined as facilities doing 400 or more abortions per year) in 1988 compared to 622 in 2008. A 25% decline. Likewise, a broader non-hospital provider look for the years between 1992-2005 show a decline of 23%. While these numbers are far lower than the anti-abortion activist site’s claims, it is still alarming to see such a drop in services.
But nevermind the propaganda.
Let’s get down to what really matters… this is a glimpse at the very real ground war against access to women’s reproductive health care. I may not like to use the war terminology or resort to throwing around the phrase War on Women, but people, the wolves are already at our front door (to mix my metaphors). And if you live in one of the 87% of all US counties that do not have an abortion provider — access to vital health care is almost completely out of reach. And it is not hyperbole to say that working in a clinic that provides abortions is dangerous.
Yeah… For all their “value” on human life, “pro-lifers” sure have a funny way of showing it. Is the value of life determined on the Justice Stewart “I know it when I see it” obscenity scale?
Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists have been sending wave after wave of attacks on Roe in the form of personhood amendments (including some right here in Nevada), increased waiting periods (PDF), gag rules, requirements for invasive (and costly) procedures (hello, transvaginal ultrasounds), and more.
This isn’t just a War on Women. This is a full-scale attack on Roe, across many fronts. And for all those who smirk at the War on Women rhetoric on cable news (or even late-night cable comedy shows) or for all those who think silently to themselves, “Yeah, but Roe will always be there” …
I’ve got news for you: Roe is not safe. And they don’t need to take down Roe to make getting an abortion an almost impossible feat.
And let me be clear — I am not pinning this ambivalence amongst the prochoice on any one segment. I know some like to throw stones at the youth, claiming that they just don’t get how important this is or that they see this issue as all sewn up. But, in fact, Pew Center research shows there is very little difference in the numbers when it comes to support of abortion rights (53% of all Americans support its legality) between genders or amongst different age groups. This is not an old-guard versus new-guard debate. This is not even about whether or not people identify themselves as prochoice or not. That’s just semantics!
This is about pulling our heads out of our asses and realizing that we’re already losing ground. There are no more tomorrows. It’s time to get engaged and it’s time to make all of our voices heard.
Consider this your wake up call. They’re not coming for us. They are already here. They’ve been quietly chipping away at our rights while we were picking up our kids from daycare; making vacation plans; paying bills; mowing the lawn…
Now is the time to pay attention. PAY ATTENTION… AND VOTE.
Need more inspiration?