The WCU Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance will join supporters of women’s reproductive freedom at the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC, on April 25. The march was organized to rally political opposition to possible presidential Supreme Court nominees. Currently, the Supreme Court is 5 to 4 in support of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. If one or more Supreme Court justices retire this year, they could be replaced with a justice who could reverse the decision and make abortion illegal.
Kristen Gross, president of WCU’s chapter of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, said, “People take for granted the right to safe abortion. Many people think because they have this right, they don’t have to tell elected officials what they want. If they wait until it’s taken away it will be too late.”
The march is intended to urge senators to filibuster when the Bush Administration’s potential nominees begin the approval process. National Organization for Women President, Kim Gandy, said senators should vote against every nominee who is against reproductive freedoms and must “commit to filibuster every single bad nominee…until George Bush gets the message that we will not go back to the back alleys.” According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 78,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions. Women’s groups say the demand for abortions continues, and that making abortions illegal forces mostly young women and poor women to resort to unsafe methods.
TRAP Laws, Targeted Limitations on Abortion Providers, make it hard for women to have access to abortions by placing greater regulations on doctors who perform the procedure. Proponents of TRAP Laws say they are intended to make abortions safer.
Protesters to TRAP Laws say they target doctors who perform abortions safely, deterring them from continuing to provide abortions. As a result, 85 percent of counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider. Women’s groups are angered by other restrictions on abortion that they say limit access to young and poor women. Pennsylvania is one of many states that enforces a parental consent law and a 24 hour waiting period before abortions with mandatory counseling. The march will also address the Global Gag Rule, a policy that says countries accepting money from the U.S. for family planning cannot use their own money to fund abortions or to fund public debate and education about abortion. This plan, officially known as the Mexico City Policy, resurfaced with President Bush after being thrown out during the Clinton Administration. Protesters are opposed to his efforts to expand the limits of the Gag Rule because they say it limits free speech in other countries and threatens women’s health. The Feminist Majority Foundation predicts that the march in April will be even larger than the 1992 march on Washington that attracted over 750,000 people. The WCU Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance will travel to the march by bus and can be contacted for more information at their meetings, Wednesday nights at 8:30 in the Women’s Center.