Turning back women’s rights one page at a time

Let’s read the book of women’s progress backwards, starting from the gender inequalities of today. Plastic is beautiful because women are accessories. Wade pummels Roe so women can nest. Women do not vote or wear pants (except for those deviants). Women keep quiet and obey (except for those witches).

And, going all the way back to the beginning, women were Eve – corrupting and inferior. Now we’re on the same page of the same book as our current regime.

According to a weekend Associated Press report, the Senate GOP has just added the Child Custody Protection Act to their Top 10 priority list. Before we consider the sneaky manipulation of legal jargon, let’s take a look at the centuries of social progress the Act would obliterate.

The bill would prohibit anyone other than a parent from accompanying a young woman across state lines for an abortion if the home state has a parental-involvement law. It carries a sentence of up to one year in prison for adults (including grandparents, adult siblings and religious counselors) seeking to assist young women in crisis pregnancies.

Margie Boule of the Oregonian relayed the nightmarish injustice of Spring Adams, a sixth-grader in Idaho who was "shot to death by her father after he learned she was to terminate a pregnancy caused by his acts of incest."

Fear of violence or retribution in pregnancies resulting from incest, shame and lack of support or forced estrangement are all valid reasons that a young woman may feel she cannot involve a parent.

Adams’ story is but one of many, and yet, supporters of the bill have the audacity to claim it is the life of children they are protecting. Pro-life Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) argues, "This is a predatory market, it targets vulnerable young girls, and really there is too much pressure from boyfriends and the like to just simply go have an abortion."

The Act makes no exceptions for cases where resources are scarce or non-existent in the home state and the young woman’s health is in jeopardy. The American Medical Association notes that since 1973, "The desire to maintain secrecy has been one of the leading reasons for illegal abortion deaths." Desperate measures such as running away from home, "back alley" abortions or self-induced abortions are the final resorts of the second sex.

Life is the last thing this legislation seeks to protect.

"Child Custody" is the alleged right here, and this is yet another slippery maneuver of biblical proportions in the agenda to dissolve and destroy Roe v. Wade. On the surface, the Child Custody Protection Act panders directly to the 32 states with parental-involvement laws in force. But parental involvement laws cannot and do not create pathways for healthy, open family communication where none exist. Trust and honest communication are essential factors a young woman in crisis considers in her appeal to any adult for dire assistance.

Because of the dangers involved, Congressman Pete Stark of California proposed the Act "should in fact be called the Teen Endangerment Act."

Under the U.S. Constitution (Doe v. Bolton), each citizen has the right to travel freely between states, enjoying the "privileges and immunities" of each state visited. The passage of the Child Custody Protection Act would not only bind a young woman to the laws of her home state (thus removing her constitutionally protected right to travel freely), it would also violate the comity of states that have chosen not to restrict abortion.

Constitutional violation of states’ rights is a terrifying move towards centralization of power, but federal violation of women’s rights is infinitely more alarming. This is a measure of social terrorism in an historically documented campaign that conservatives have waged since the days of our founding.

As Congressman Stark said addressing his colleagues, "Abortion should be made less necessary, not more difficult and dangerous. A comprehensive approach to promoting adolescent reproductive health and reducing teen pregnancy should require comprehensive sexuality education as well as access to contraception and family planning services."

It took 150 years and 19 amendments to our Constitution before women earned representation. I, for one, refuse to read this book backwards.

Amy Lee can be reached at [email protected].