By Deanna Martin, Globe and Mail, May 10, 2011
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a measure Tuesday imposing some of the nation's tightest restrictions on abortions and making Indiana the first state to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana immediately went to court in an effort to stop the law. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt is expected to rule Wednesday on the request.
Mr. Daniels, a Republican known as a fiscal hawk, is considering a run for president in 2012. Adding his signature to the abortion bill will likely help his image among social conservatives who were upset over Mr. Daniels' previous calls for a Republican “truce” on social issues.
Mr. Daniels didn't advocate publicly for the bill, and it wasn't part of his legislative agenda. But he said he supported the abortion restrictions from the outset and that the provision added to defund abortion providers did not change his mind.
This specific piece of information is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is a culture war raging across North America against therapeutic abortion, against a woman's right to choose and the fiscal restraint "cover" is little more than candy coating for the real ideological intent of the right wing of the political spectrum.
Libraries are closing; teachers are being fired (4500 from New York schools); police and firefighters are being terminated...and any organization that even offers counsel for women that includes the option of a therapeutic abortion is seeing its funding gutted.
And voters sympathetic to the step, including most members of both Roman Catholic churches and many fundamental evangelical churches, will follow their "conscience" with votes in support of the measure.
Those of us who see a different society, with different priorities, are considered "irresponsible" because we do not want to see a return to the kind of backstreet quackery that characterized the pain of a former time.
There is an absolutist quality to the opponents of a woman's right to choose that accompanies many of the positions on the right. Yesterday, on NPR, the subject of on-line poker was discussed...or at least the shutdown that the Department of Justice has imposed. Callers on the right want to ban all forms of gambling (state laws vary from dubbing poker a game of skill to a game of chance). Last century, the continent witnessed another political fight to remove alcohol from public access. In some cities, there is a political initiative to eliminate prostitution.
And yet, those opponents have merely dug their heads in the sand to the fact that people are going to engage in many of these activities, whether the state makes them "legal" or not. It is more a question of how to deal with the realities of human existence. And solving the "problem" by elimination is neither a solution nor a conscious addressing of the facts. The Russians have used the method for decades, if not centuries, without much obvious success. The same fate awaits our attempts on this continent.
Meanwhile, women whose specific situation requires their termination of a pregnancy will increasingly have to resort to less than adequate measures for their purpose.