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The Right's Attack on Roe V. Wade at 40: The Hyde and Helms Legacy

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abortion, abuse, americans, congress, corruption, democrats, dishonesty, ethics, freedoms, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, lies, media, politics, propaganda, republicans, rights )

- 1946 days ago -
Those who celebrate the enduring legacy of Roe v. Wade must also be mindful of the barriers to reproductive autonomy that remain.

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Kit B (276)
Friday January 25, 2013, 1:10 pm
Poster from Internet site without credits

Those who celebrate the enduring legacy of Roe v. Wade must also be mindful of the barriers to reproductive autonomy that remain.

While celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must also mourn the staying power of rhetoric demonizing women who seek reproductive autonomy - especially the young, the poor, rural women and women of color - and the legislation that blocks their ability to access abortion. Battles over the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are only the latest example, following two earlier victories that targeted these vulnerable populations both at home and abroad: the Helms and Hyde amendments.

The lesser known Helms Amendment to the 1973 Foreign Assistance Act blocks US funds from use for abortion care abroad, even if abortion is legal in that country, as in the United States, exporting the right-wing agenda to other countries. In a country like Nepal, which eased its abortion restrictions in 2002, Helms puts up arduous barriers to access by forbidding the use of medical equipment and facilities funded by US aid for abortion services.

Back on the home front, the 1976 Hyde Amendment ended federal funding of abortion care through Medicaid, the "largest healthcare program in the United States," with difficult-to-exercise rape, incest and health exceptions. Hyde set in motion the strategy of using legislation to chip away at Roe and deprive poor women (disproportionately women of color) of access to abortion. Thirty-three states replicated the federal amendment, and of the 17 that use state funds to cover abortion under Medicaid, all but four do so under court order.

This trend, combined with decades of the Right unjustly blaming indigent mothers - especially African-Americans and Latinas - for abusing social programs, ushered in chilling cuts and sweeping "reform" to federal welfare by the mid-90s under the Clinton administration. Hyde and welfare reform comprise dramatic losses to the social safety net that ensures poor families can meet basic needs. Unfortunately, the pro-choice movement has largely been ineffective in fighting this narrative about poor women of color, or in moving toward eradicating Hyde.

Of course, legislative fights are just one way through which the Right actualizes its anti-choice agenda. In the four decades since Roe, the anti-choice movement has eroded Roe's promise through intimidation and violence (including murder), court cases and grassroots organizing.

Emerging Organizing Trends: Racialization and Adoption

Prominent anti-abortion organizations like Right to Life and the American Life League continue to galvanize the largely white and conservative Christian movement. Yet today's anti-choice leadership is increasingly diverse: Sought-after spokespeople include African-American leaders like Dr. Alveda King, whose legacy as a niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives her a platform, and Rev. Arnold Culbreath, who leads an urban anti-choice outreach initiative. Along with other anti-choice groups led by people of color, they are creating racially targeted campaigns, like the Radiance Foundation's, which admits without qualms that "[co-founder Ryan] Bomberger and others like him accuse Planned Parenthood of exhorting black women to obtain abortions as a form of genocide." Its initial billboard campaign read: "Black Children Are an Endangered Species."

Though it might not be immediately apparent, the Right's historical rhetoric, accusing African-American women of having too many children in order to "hustle" increased welfare benefits, dovetails with this racialized anti-abortion campaigning. Loretta Ross, SisterSong co-founder and a reproductive justice leader noted the strategic shift in 2011: "The antiabortion opponents changed their tactics: Now they claim to promote adoption for black children." fiercely advocates adoption - especially transracial adoption. The right-wing ideology remains consistent by claiming that while African-American women must carry unwanted pregnancies to term, single and poor moms should consider adoption - to two-parent (male and female) and often white families.

After conceptualizing the "too many aborted" billboards in African-American communities, Bomberger has turned to creating advertisements promoting adoption. His latest media campaign, "Turn the Unplanned into a Loving Plan," is a collaborative effort with the RealOptions crisis pregnancy center and Bethany Christian Services, the largest international adoption agency - a coup for gaining mainstream respectability and power. The web site is set to launch on February 13th, in time for Valentine's Day.

These public service announcements polish the anti-choice movement's public image with a veneer of youth and diversity. The emphasis on adoption and positive imagery, rather than traditional images of bloody fetuses, advances the Right's attempts to appeal to broader audiences.

Waging an Intersectional War

Mississippi, where women's health activists fight to keep the last abortion-providing clinic open, is the same state where a right-wing governor is refusing to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act - taking advantage of the US Supreme Court decision to allow states to opt out of the expansion. Thousands of women will remain without affordable access to reproductive health care, contraceptive services and abortion - even in cases of rape, incest, women's health or fetal impairment. This is only one example of how the anti-choice Right remains committed to undermining reproductive rights overall, and access to safe and legal abortion.

This is why I join other women-of -color leaders in urging defenders of Roe to take an intersectional approach to organizing. The reproductive justice framework acknowledges the intimate link between abortion access and racial and economic justice, as particularly demonstrated by the Helms and Hyde amendments, knowing that the Right encroaches on abortion access for all women by stepping on poor women of color here and abroad.

For an informative analysis and useful tools for countering the Right, please see the "What is Reproductive Justice Slideshow and Webinar" posted by the Unitarian Universalist Association and PRA's Defending Reproductive Justice: An Activist Resource Kit online.

****This post is part of "Still Wading: Forty years of Resistance, Resilience and Reclamation in Communities of Color," a blog series by Strong Families commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.****
****Many links can be found within article****

By Malika Redmond, Truthout | Op-Ed

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday January 25, 2013, 3:25 pm
Noted. I think passage of the Equal Rights Amendment would make this subject moot.

Terry V (30)
Friday January 25, 2013, 5:33 pm
Noted thanks

Kit B (276)
Friday January 25, 2013, 5:50 pm

ERA would indeed end this discussion - we need 3 states to pass ERA.

JL A (281)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:26 pm
I remember language like the poster in the pix 50 years ago. Is America going through reverse evolution?

pam w (139)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:41 pm
I'm afraid so, J.L.. So many young women take this hard-won right for granted! They've always had it and have NO IDEA how difficult it was to secure it.

Still....polls prove the majority of Americans favor privacy laws and the right to end a pregnancy if the woman wants to do it. THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE!

If need be.....I'll learn how to do them and help women myself! We should be empowering women....NOT stealing their freedoms!.

Jim P (3257)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:29 pm
We must not get lazy and take Roe v. Wade for granted.

We all must do our part to stop the extreme rightwing nuts from chipping away at Roe v. Wade.
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade.

Protect your rights!

Care2 petition:


We wonít allow a small band of politicians and out-of-touch activists to interfere with a womanís personal health care decisions. We wonít allow lawmakers to stand between women and their doctors.

Petition here: Take Action:

Lots of information in site/petition above. A good read.

Ty, Kit.

jo M. (3)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 12:24 am
Excellent amendments. Taxpayer money should never be used to fund abortion for anyone, anywhere, for any reason, except, perhaps, to save the life of the mother. US citizen only.

Gysele van Santen (213)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 1:47 am
the writing in the blue box is the truth.

Ro H (0)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:59 am
Against abortion, Pro guns. Go figure!!

Arielle S (313)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:43 am
I see the Boehner said stopping taxpayer abortion is now one of our "most fundamental goals". I guess that makes us even because stopping Boehner is one of my most fundamental goals. If insurance can pay for Viagra, it can pay for birth control and yeah, abortions, too.

divergent revolution (309)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 10:16 am
They should take a lesson from seahorses.
I agree.If men got pregnant there would be a line waiting around the world for vasectomies!

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 11:29 am

Yep, Boehner has chosen a path of controversy that he believes he can win. I don't accept that women will just "give in" and let those few rights been taken.

Those voices that are determined to impose their will and their private belief systems on the country are fully anti- American and anti-human rights. Take it back to the days of back room abortion? No thanks.
This directly implies that we have learned nothing from the past, and the few are only too willing to have women die, rather than gain a legal abortion - shame on you.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 1:26 pm
One thing I find most disgusting is that the wealthiest women won't be deterred by any laws. They'll have their private, quiet abortions done anyway.

Rose Becke (141)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 3:21 pm
I agree with tasunka Thanks Kit

Scott haakon (4)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:13 pm
What is not discussed it the hidden issues. Most of the West's social programs were developed on the idea of growth. Business were dependent on growth. Japan,South Korea, Singapore are all trying to get their people to have more children. So the poorly designed social programs can survive. The US is no exception. The time most businesses make money is when the young are between 11-35 after which the per capita spending is less(even if it is on more expensive items). So both business and government were unprepared. With people now able to obtain better birth control that will increase and the birth rate falls. That is the financial side of the problem.

Ann B (60)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:32 pm

Deanna Zimmerman (74)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 4:47 pm

Past Member (0)
Monday January 28, 2013, 4:25 pm
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