Today in America, ourright to control our bodies is under attack. Religious groups and con

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Today in America, ourright to control our bodies is under attack. Religious groups and conservative politicians are eroding our freedom to make our own deasions about reproductive health. This year the Supreme Court passed the "gag rule" forbidding federally funded clirucs from providing information about abortions, even when specifically requested by their clients. Growing militant anti abortion groups such as Operation Rescue are staging increasingly frequent attacks on women's clinics. Despite the fact that abortion is now legal, it is uraccessible to many women, especially those who are poor or young. Many women are unaware of or unable to take advantage of their reproductive options due to geographical isloation or a lack of knowledge due to a morally repressive atmosphere. It is irnportant that we begin to educate and organize to take control of our bodies. We can learn about alternative abortion techruques and establish services such as the Jane Collective, an underground network of abortion providers in Chicago in the early 1970's. There are many concerned health care workers who could be allies in such a program. We can establish support networks for teenagers who must leave their homes or deal with the court system to obtain abortions. We can educate ourselves about alternative means of contraception and abortion such as traditional herbal methods. Much of this knowledge is kept alive by women in Native American and unmigrant communities, and is being reclaimed by nridwives, witches, and herbal healers, and by those seeking to develop health care outside the control of the medical establishment and the state. We can uutiate independent research, production, and distribution of new drugs, such as the early abortifacient pill RU-486, which is currently being used effectively in France and China, but is denied women in this country due to anti-abortion boycott threats and the fear of liability lawsuits. While it is necessary to demand that the government respect the right to reproductive freedom, we must not rely solely on the state. Legislators have a poor record of accountability on reproductive issues, and Supreme Court justices are accountable to no one. Reproductive freedom is too crucial to be left to the state. We must claim for ourselves the fundamental right of reproductive choice, and take our health care and control of our lives into our own hands.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank