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The Most Dangerous Time for Women’s Rights in Decades

The Most Dangerous Time for Women’s Rights in Decades

Martha Burk

This op-ed was originally published on April 24. It was updated on May 15 to include more recent developments.

We’re living in the most perilous time for abortion rights and reproductive freedom since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

Worth considering - The legend of Lysistrata survived the “Renaissance”, but the biblical Book of Judith did not. Both are worth reading as examples of ancient female presence of justice of powerful women acting for the good of society.
The matter of “life” being leveraged as an abusive bargaining chip so nonchalantly schizophrenic as a hyper-simplified matter of ‘ageism’ might be worth stripping of its media veil and being challenged over a number of points:

  1. Denial of care for human beings otherwise treated as little more than economic units once they have been subjected to the conflation of church and state at the pre-natal stage.
  2. The rate of rape in the US
  3. Sexual abuse in media

Facts About Rape Victims and Abortions

1. Fewer than 1% of all abortions take place because there has been rape or incest involved to create the pregnancy.
2. Up to 85% of the women who become pregnant through rape or incest choose to have their children.
3. The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age.
4. About 32,000 pregnancies result from sexual assaults or rape every year in the United States.
5. The majority of rape-related pregnancies occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator.
6. Only 11.7% of these adolescents who were raped by a known, often related predator received immediate medical attention after the assault.
7. 32.4% of victims do not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester.
8. In a 1996 study of rape victims and pregnancy, 11.8% of the pregnancies resulted in a spontaneous abortion. Only about 6% of the mothers chose to have the child and then give it up for adoption.
9. An Elliot Institute study on rape-related pregnancies found that nearly 80% of the women who aborted said that abortion was the wrong solution.
10. 43% of women said they felt pressure to abort from family members or health workers.
11. 95% of those who mentioned rape or incest as a reason for an abortion also named other reasons as well for deciding to abort.
12. The number of abortions that occur in the United States based on the statistics because of rape or incest: 12,000.
13. When the Pennsylvania Legislature modified the law to say it only covered rape or incest reported to law-enforcement authorities, the number of publicly funded abortions dropped from 35 a month to 3.
14. Almost 70% of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement officials.
15. The number of states who currently pay for abortions for poor women who have been the victims of rape or incest: 8.
16. Another 12 states finance abortions for poor women with broader circumstances.
17. On the other end of the spectrum, 90% of the children who are battered in the US were wanted pregnancies.
18. In 2008, the Supreme Court of California upheld that pregnancy resulting from rape constitutes great bodily injury.


Yet these same “pro-life”, anti-choice advocates have no qualms about sending young people off to fight immoral wars or want to advocate for peace at all costs. Do they also want to ban the corporations that manufacture missiles for the largest arms dealers on the planet? What about the cops they support that kill unarmed people? Do they get 99 years in prison? Of course not these are one-sided laws designed to control women and keep them at bay. They don’t care about the poverty or crime in the future an unwanted child may endure or even care to fund healthcare, even for the pregnancy, childcare, education or housing. What a bunch of F**king hypocrites!


The women of the United States would all serve their gender by going on a sex strike until men in this country all understand that women deserve to be treated equal, in all aspects of life.

After a week of women abstaining from sex, their actions will bring men to pressure States like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Ohio, as well as put the Supreme Court on notice that gender inequality will not to tolerated in order to appease the repressive Republican party as well as the supposedly “Religious Right.”

"Strike Ladies Strike!"


I would say the the most repressive states need the most aggressive actions from the women in “holding out”. Of course a lot of the poor women have been brainwashed into believing in serving their mean and his rules. Time for progressives to start fighting back against these monsters.

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Did not a woman governor just sign this law into effect? Seems there is just as much solidarity among women as among workers.

The bill was sponsored by a woman representative in the lower house of Alabama, and the three women in the Senate voted against it, but we still have women promoting this bill. Go figure.

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This is worth reading.


Part of this dramatic escalation in legislative stakes is to ensure the bills make it to SCOTUS. It’s over-the-top, sure, but this entire drama is about getting another Roe review at the Court.

That’s not to say that the mutation of anti-abortion legislation into an expansion of capital crime code isn’t serious–it is, deeply. But if these bills had any chance to become actual state law, they would likely face a more ferocious resistance in their states than they do now.

the tragedy in all this is that a movement that once lived by the courts is now dying by it. it’s a lesson on not relying on the judicial branch to replace the hard, sustained work of political organization on the ground.

The Right has understood this for years. Liberals have ignored it at their peril. The Left might have an even worse record when it comes to grassroots organizing.

As Ward Churchill once would’ve put it, these are chickens returning home to roost.

Nevertheless, this is something all of us need to rally around our sisters on for real. It’s one thing to lose the abortion fight because you lost the political fight. It’s another entirely to literally threaten the lives of women over a medical procedure. That’s intolerable and has to be maximally resisted.


Thanks Unmentionables. I just read this to my wife and we both found it so true.

My wife asked me to forward a copy to her daughter and her niece, but single women with no kids.

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Like others are saying, if women are breaking the law by ending pregnancies by surgery, then, men must be subject to the same penalties if men have a surgical vasectomy, preventing life from being created upon ejaculation.

Rubbers too, are designed to prevent life from forming.

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I’ve been thinking this for a while now, that a sex strike is needed and that poor women who want to leave these backward states need a network of support. Also, that any corporations who operate in these states need to be boycotted.

Actually, not only a sex strike, but a total strike. A lot of men discount or simply don’t realize all the work women do-until it stops being done.

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You’re so right Dol. When my first wife walked out after 7 years of marriage, I realized first hand how much work she did after she came home from her day job, as I did it all after that point. I will say that I had taken her for granted however at that time I never stopped loving her, and I certainly didn’t push her into committing adultery.

Live and learn.

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Perhaps the Book of Judith did not survive the renaissance but a remarkable number of Artists used the theme as documented in the centuries of painting of Judith with the Head of Holophernes

In his book “Bury The Chains” about the fight to abolish slavery initiated in England, Adam Hochschild writes that women served bakery good sans sugar to their husbands in order to protest Slavery in the Caribbean.

Women’s rights including reproductive rights bring emotional elements of humanity to the surface. It is very difficult to have debates without bringing feeling to the venue. Today I was very annoyed by Amy on Democracy Now during her interview with a female doctor practicing in Alabama. The general tone of the interview was one of irritability, marked by redundant questions. In one of the worst interviews that I’ve seen on DN, it seems as if Any was trying to sensationalize the life of this doctor especially when she implied that she feared for her life. Maybe Amy was just tired on a friday afternoon after another horrible week in ooosa politics.

On another note as written in this very concise piece by Martha Burk, we should be very afraid. She documents how Roe v Wade has been slowly whittled down and with our now “glorious right wing court” the movement is pushing us further back into the dark ages. Stealing immigrants children, imprisoning women for losing their pregnancy, destroying public education, polluting our planet while being vindicated for bombing civilians on foreign soil.

More wonderful paintings of Judith and her action

Hi Pony Boy: LOL what overlooked and important points. Beware men , of course, the BJ squad will be looking for women kneeling in front of men and also men loving themselves while alone. Now that I’ve listed that hilarity-----can we all just let people decided what to do with their own bodies? What’s next? Arresting teenage boys for nocturnal emissions? Although that does have a history in Europe with the bride’s sheets flown out the day after the wedding to PROVE she was a virgin. All right boys, run those sheets up the flag pole and see if the NEO-Puritans see anything---- I’m sure they will write a murder charge about that!

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Stardust: LOL. Are you a writer? You certainly have the imagination.

Hi PonyBoy: I inherited the wiseass gene from my dad----but I’ve written copy for local commercials , and lots of rhyming poems. At the moment, I am making a more honest living as a tutor, who is a real inspiration to 12 year olds who see that I too make stupid spelling errors , so we are all still working on that CHECK YOUR WORK thing. I am easily inspired by the weird, and sometimes the insane actions that governments make~ : )

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