Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sad news, mad news

I was filled with an empty sadness to hear that Dana Reeve died of lung cancer yesterday. What is there to say about this tragedy? Her son is now without a father and a mother. Her last months had to have been a time of terrible struggle. She was a singer who reportedly never touched a cigarette. So, what is there even to learn from this??

I was filled with an anxious rage to hear that South Dakota's legislature has passed a law that makes the preformance of abortions a felony, except where a pregnancy puts a woman's life in danger.. The law will go into effect in July, and it is expected to be tested in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in the fall. I suppose an abortion will be performed, someone will be arrested, it will go from court to higher court until it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, which will grant certiorari (meaning that the Court will hear the case).

Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito are, no doubt, the impetus for the bill that became this surreal law that not only takes away a woman's right to choose but also could be read quite narrowly in what constitutes a "danger" to a woman's life. If a woman who has had breast cancer, but is in remission, accidentally were to become pregnant, for example, would she be allowed to have an abortion on the theory that a pregnancy may increase her risk of recurrence? Or is that simply too attentuated, given the state of ambiguity in which the pregnancy/breast cancer issue currently exists?

In 1973, Roe v. Wade affirmed a woman's right to have an abortion, at least up to a certain point in her pregnancy, the issue being at what point a fetus becomes viable (if this is incorrect, please correct me...it has been 15 years since my Constitutional Law final exam). If I am not mistaken, the South Dakota law provides in unambiguous black and white that a life begins at conception. At. Conception. A mighty leap, that. I remember when I was in law school, wondering, as I am sure many others have, how fetus-sparing technologies that allow a baby born prematurely to survive at fewer and fewer weeks of gestation, will potentially be used to encroach upon a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.

However, I am quite sure that an embryo consisting of a countable number of cells would not survive outside the womb. And for that reason, along with a variety of political reasons (not the least of which is the fact that the current Republican presidency is not a lifetime reign, even though it may feel like it has lasted a lifetime already, and that not all Republicans stand on the side of the No Right To Abortion-ers - I refuse to call them Right to Lifers, and that is the last time you will ever hear me call them that), I wonder if going this far far far out to the right will actually end up creating a scenario for the U.S. Supreme Court to once again affirm a woman's right to choose.

It's like the pairing of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. It would be one thing if there were some measure of logic to it, some glimmer of "maybe" in the improbability of it all. But something so incredibly improbable, so lacking in common sense, so seemingly "off"...well, people just don't buy stuff like that. South Dakota went too far. It bit off too much. It engaged in its own form of "couch jumping". In my opinion.

And for that reason, I see some hope that women like the one sitting in the cube next to you at work, or writing the blog you're reading, or practicing Ashtanga on the mat next to yours, or sitting next to you at your family's Thanksgiving Dinner won't be playing out their mistakes in the basement of an abandoned building with a doctor using a bicycle repair kit, a blow torch and a syringe filled with , I don't know, heroin.



neti said...

world seems like its falling apart sometimes huh? jeez. Thank god for yoga eh?

samasthiti said...

I am so angry. We are taking a million steps backwards in women's rights.
Not even in the case of rape or incest. The rapist father could even possibly have rights to that child.
Scream now.
Scream louder.
Yoga's not helping that.

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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