“Bush Beware. When women vote, Democrats win.”

Title quote from Camryn Manheim, one of the speakers firing up the March for Women’s Lives. “George Bush, meet the third rail of American politics,” she told the largest march in history, well over a million.

Manheim also addressed Republican women and men present and told them to take their party back to sanity. Hard to tell from the audio, but it sounded like the pro-choice GOP was there in abundance and enthusiastic about the prospect. The BushCo intimidation of media and politicians on the Hill can’t reach Republican voters who aren’t automatically going to go along with an extremist agenda. (And what would they gain being vocal about it in this climate?) And for all that’s been written about NASCAR dads, they’re not really a sizeable demographic compared to professional women (of all political stripes) in an age-group that remembers life before Roe v. Wade.

I heard a very interesting interview with a spokesman for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights. 78% of Americans believe one can be religious and pro-choice, the RCRR spokesman told Pacifica Radio. They regarded legislation such as Bush’s ?Unborn Victims of Violence Act? an attack not just on reproductive rights and women’s and children’s health, but a radical attack on freedom of religion and conscience. (From the RCRR website): In a nation that is admired for religious tolerance, imposing religious views is the wrong thing to do. … An RCRC clergy counselor testified at a U.S. Senate hearing that many women benefit from compassionate, nonjudgmental ?all options clergy counseling? and that stigmatizing women who have abortions is psychologically harmful.

I’ve been alarmed and disgusted at how the Bush administration has chipped away at women’s rights, steamrolling appalling legislation through, from the gag rule to elevating fetal rights over women’s rights. A pregnant woman can now be charged with a crime for objecting to treatment that elevates fetal safety over hers. The “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” also criminalizes pregnant women who may not have access to pre-natal care, or who becomes pregnant during an addiction to drugs or alcohol at a time when treatment programs are shutting down — blowback from Bush’s tax cuts.

This is a radical reframing of the debate, folks.

It’s not just about the choice to have or not have an abortion and does life begin at conception. Reproductive rights brings real issues of health and life back into the debate: availability of birth control, compassionate counseling that addresses the woman’s religious beliefs and doesn’t overrepresent one extremist point of view (ie, abstinence or marriage, end of discussion.)

Reproductive rights means pre- and post-natal care expanded to include access to substantial child care. It speaks to young people who don’t want to be martyred to STDs because of someone else’s beliefs. It also speaks to gay couples and issues of guardianship and adoption. Zealots whose fetal compassion evaporates once they achieve their objective of stopping an abortion can’t get away with cynically representing themselves as “pro-life” while also targeting programs for the health of impoverished women and children.

I don’t think Bush has a war chest big enough to fight off this flank.

Update: There was also a very organized networking and registration drive at the march. This wasn’t just a collection of million-plus warm bodies, but people who travelled many many miles to be there. We’re looking at a million-plus mobilized activists.


Comments: 4


Abortion is a good cause to fight for. If there is one common issue which could tie moderates from both parties together it would be this one. Hopefully Kerry takes good advantage of this movement.




The statement “When women vote, Democrats win” sounds like an argument for the repeal of the 19th amendment to the US constitution.

Not that I like the Republicans either. Both ALWAYS work for bigger and more intrusive government. Both worship BIG government and believe it to make life better when in fact it NEVER does.


When inmates vote, Democrats win. Fight for felon’s rights!


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