Assaults on women's rights just don't stop

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The bad old days are not an option. Many of us have stories of relatives who were victims of botched procedures. I had an aunt who was sent from New York to relatives in Albuquerque, N.M., where she had an abortion, developed septicemia and was sent to a convent, where she recovered but could never have children. And the subject is rife with hypocrisy. I wonder how many wives and girlfriends and daughters of the predominantly Republican anti-abortion forces have had an abortion when they needed one.

When the elder George Bush became president and vowed to fight abortion rights, my mother, my daughter and I joined the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on Washington to support the right to choose.

In the 2000s, the candidacies of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, and comments from GOP spokesmen like former Rep. Todd Akin, who designated a category for “legitimate” rape, once again politicized an essentially private matter.

It just doesn’t stop. Last year, hundreds of thousands of us spoke out when a spokesman for Komen for the Cure advocated de-funding Planned Parenthood because the organization offers pregnancy counseling along with myriad other women’s health services. The reaction was swift and unequivocal: Donations dropped sharply, and Komen was forced to clean house, firing its top executives, including founder Nancy Brinker.

Last week, The New York Times published a piece by a woman titled, “My Mother’s Abortion.” Her mother had told her about an abortion she had as a young woman. The writer was grateful for the conversation. She understood that her mother was communicating a sense of empowerment to her daughter, advice on how to conduct herself in the world and perhaps caution about the ongoing threat to women’s rights. The writer urged women of my generation to speak more freely about their own experiences, about a subject that is personal, but need not be secret.

I agree. Our adult children have no idea what awful choices women faced when abortion was illegal in America.
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