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the Body Politic
Vol. 7, No. 10 - Oct/Nov 1997, Page 1 News Brief
Copyright © 1997 by the Body Politic Inc.
Editor's Desk

The Un-celebration

By Anne Bower

A few days ago, Jen Douglas, Coordinator for the National Young Woman's Day of Action, asked me for information on Becky Bell, the Indiana teen who died from an apparent illegal abortion. I had interviewed Becky's parents, William and Karen, in 1991 at the Family Planning Advocates conference where the Bell's came to support our efforts to stave off parental consent laws in New York. They believed it was a similar law in Indiana that caused their daughter to seek out an illegal abortion rather then tell them she was pregnant.

While looking over my file, I began to think what has happened in the seven years since the first Body Politic hit the stands in January 1991: murders, clinic mayhem, the loss of Rust vs. Sullivan, the loss of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, bans on the D&X procedure, clinics closing, parental consent laws enacted (not yet in New York), 24-hour waiting periods and state-scripted "informed consent", secular hospitals merging with Catholic ones with the loss of many reproductive health services for men and women, the Christian Coalition, Promise Keepers, etc...

Frankly folks, maybe I'm just having a bad hair day, but I think the 90s suck if you care about reproductive rights.

If Becky Bell had lived, she would have been 26 this year, just about the age of some of my friends' daughters. As we are supposed to be getting ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, those middle-aged women with twenty-some daughters are wondering what time will hold for their young women. How many more clinics will close and doctors leave the field because of anti-choice violence? How many more restrictions from mis-guided legislators will be placed on choice? How will the pressures of managed health care damage reproductive health care services? How successful will the anti-abortion, anti-gay Christian zealots be in their crusade to theocratize America? My crystal ball is very cloudy lately, so I don't have any predictions. Right now I am just thankful that my friend's daughters are alive and with us as we contemplate celebrating in January what's really left of our right to choose.

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