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A step in the wrong direction
Posted April 27, 2007

Katherine Hillier
Managing Editor

Last Wednesday was a sad day for the rights of women. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court voted to uphold the “partial birth abortion” ban act, and as a result, American women have lost some of their freedom.

This ruling is a wake-up call for women everywhere.

The age of safe legal abortion may soon be over.

Although the ban only affects a small percentage of abortions that take place, it is a blaring sign of what is to come. With the exit of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the arrival of Samuel Alito, the new Supreme Court has just demonstrated that they have a new view on women’s rights or lack there of.

Sadly, this court does not see abortion as a woman’s right.

They see it as a “moral concern,” according to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

This was a strategic move that was in accordance with anti-abortionists who wish to change the abortion issue from rights of women to the fate of a fetus. And now, because of the new balance on the Supreme Court, this agenda has been successful.

It’s important to remember that, because of the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion.

And yet last week’s ruling has countered that right with this new restriction, and as a result they have muddied the waters for this debate.

This issue is really about women’s rights. It’s about not letting the government control our bodies, and it’s about having the right to make our own personal decisions.

In an attempt to describe the Court’s decision, Justice Kennedy claimed this ruling was basically protecting women from themselves, or from a decision that they may not understand.

So he is saying that a decision such as this, a decision dealing with a woman’s own body, is a decision that couldn’t possibly be understood by a woman.

Apparently this decision is too complicated for a woman to wrap her little brain around. This is horrific. Are we to believe that as women we cannot fully understand the seriousness of an abortion, so we must rely on the Supreme Court – eight men and one woman – to make this decision for us?

How could justice Kennedy – or any man for that matter – ever understand what goes into that decision?

It is ridiculous to think that a man can fully empathize with a woman who finds herself in that situation.

The government should be there to protect women, but not to tell us how to make personal decisions. And, if it is the government’s job to protect life as some may argue, then upholding this ban was the first step towards endangering the lives of women.

In countries like Mexico, where abortion is illegal, many women resort to unsafe methods for abortion and, as a result, abortion-related deaths are high.

According to the World Health Organization, unsafe abortions kill 68,000 women a year.

This number is mind-numbing and shows that women will have abortions regardless of their legality. Outlawing abortion simply makes them more dangerous and raises the death toll for women in general.

Although the Court’s upholding of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban doesn’t outlaw abortion completely in the United States, it does open the door to that possibility.

In a country that has made great strides in protecting the rights of women, it is sad to see us taking a step backwards.

Katherine Hillier, a senior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at khillier@ulv.edu.