So we're officially a couple of days into the Obama administration and may see the government move into a direction more amenable to reproductive freedom. The question of what my hopes are for Obama or the Congress are in terms of reproductive freedom and justice issues has come up as something to discuss. In my case the challenge has been trying to determine which one to put up here as well as wondering if I have anything to add that hasn’t already been said on other blogs regarding this. Having to narrow down from the way too many things that many participating in this feel need to change after all these years of reproductive freedom and reproductive justice being under attack does tend to be a challenge of sorts. From getting rid of the Global Gag Rule to maybe simply ensuring access to abortion and birth control to more people (i.e.: maybe overturning the Hyde Amendment), it was hard to pin it down. However, I think I finally found one factor in this issue that I’d definitely like to see the Obama administration as well as Congress tackle ASAP.
The big hope I'd like to see is the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act (H.R. 1964/S. 1173) into law, thus guaranteeing women in the U.S. the fundamental right to determine what to do with their bodies in case of a pregnancy, including the right to get an abortion. Given the defeat anti-choice ballots in several states faced during the last election, this shouldn’t really be an issue. However, with reproductive freedom and justice (from abortion access to birth control) a highly hot button issue means that this bill is and/or will be contested. President Obama has said he'd sign it if it passes Congress, but I have a strange feeling that quite a few Republicans will try to filibuster this bill any chance they get just to prove their anti choice credibility (I’ll leave the decision of whether to call these people “anti choice” or “pro forced pregnancy” up to you).
In a sane and just world, this wouldn’t be an issue. This would be considered a personal decision between a woman and her doctor and left at that. Unfortunately, the anti choice/pro forced pregnancy contingent have made it clear that they intend to make the rest of us abide by their worldview by any means necessary rather than simply live their own lives according to their convictions. Thus, the issue of choice, reproductive freedom, and reproductive justice becomes politicized and what should be a personal decision places the lives of women and those that care about them at risk for threats and possible physical harm at times.
Will this bill become law? I really hope it does. However, Congress may have its hands full on this one trying to get it passed before making it to Obama’s desk for his signature. Thus, its up to us to put the pressure on and make sure the people elected to supposedly watch out for us know we want this to make it through.