Thirty years ago this month, the rights of women took a giant leap forward. The landmark decision of Roe v. Wade was rendered. Women now had the right to a safe and legal abortion. As the abortion-rights community celebrates this milestone, Roe is in serious danger. The Republican Party, an openly hostile entity to reproductive rights, now controls the White House, Congress, and, if not stopped soon, the court system.

Congress is now in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - a physician opposed not only to abortion but also to birth control. Senator Frist's votes in Congress rank him lower than Senator Lott in the areas of civil rights, reproductive rights, and the rights of workers.

The House of Representatives is being led by Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay, who are more concerned about corporate investments, drilling in protected wilderness lands, and massing political power than women seeking basic health care.

And for the record, George W. does not support a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion, or even getting information about birth control. Just what has George W. done?

· Issued final regulations in October 2002 that make fetuses but not pregnant women eligible for health-care coverage.

· Repeatedly criticized the FDA's approval of RU-486/Mifepristone during the 2000 campaign. Recently appointed Dr. David Hager to the FDA Drugs Advisory Board. Hager is an ardent opponent of abortion, will not prescribe contraceptives to his unmarried women patients, and encourages women to pray for relief from menstrual camps.

· Cut $34 million in funding to the UN's Population Fund. This fund helps women in all areas of reproduction. Sent envoys to an International Family Planning Conference in Cairo. These envoys insisted in talking only about "abstinence only" programs and the "rhythm method" for birth control. They refused to discuss the worldwide crisis surrounding AIDS and the spread of HIV.

· Drove through Congress last year a $100-million "abstinence only" sex-education bill. Over half of the teens in "abstinence only" programs will become sexually active but have little or no knowledge on how to protect themselves or their partner(s).

So exactly what does this all mean? Will Roe v. Wade be lost? The Supreme Court is one vote shy of overturning Roe. What happens when abortion is no longer legal or safe? Will women in this country start dying like their sisters in other countries? Yes. Will emergency rooms be willing to set up "abortion wards"? Let's hope. Are emergency rooms and hospitals ready to deal with all the women who will come in bleeding and or dying from self-induced illegal abortions? As of today, no.

And so perhaps women will die, leaving behind family, loved ones, and children. And will anyone be there when she does die? Will anyone, will society, care? Will CNN or Fox want to show that on TV? Probably not, but they should. Because when that second woman dies (let's not forget Becky Bell), this nation must see it all. Because then it will no longer be political debate or water-cooler conversation or a letter to the editor. Then it will be real. Blood is real and coat hangers are real. And a woman will be dead, and she is real.

David Stewart
President, Quad Cities NOW

Roe Anniversary Nothing to Celebrate

Americans suffer 30 years of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade abortion decision. The intentional killing of 4,000 tiny people each day is nothing to "celebrate."

Our Declaration of Independence states "that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." About 50 million first rights were revoked since 1973 with so-called "safe and legal abortions."

Abortion hurts women. It has physical, emotional, and psychological consequences. According to the pamphlet "Why Aren't Women Being Told?" (Coalition of Abortion/Breast Cancer), "The only statistically significant study on American women which relied entirely on medical records of abortion (not interviews after the fact) reported a 90-percent increased risk of breast cancer among women who had chosen abortion. "

Abortion hurts 50 million fathers also.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider and promoter of abortion in America. It received $240 million of our tax money from the federal government last year, and performed 213,026 abortions in its own facilities.

"Today, 19 states require that high-school sexuality-education courses cover contraception. ... Perhaps it is no coincidence that five states with the highest teen abortion rates - at almost twice the U.S. average - also include contraception education in the sex-education courses. Is it only a coincidence that four of the five states with the lowest teen abortion rates either prohibit or do not mandate contraception education, or allow it to be taught only if 'risks' and failures are fully explored?" (Family Resources News, January/February 2003)

People need to think about the economic consequences of 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973!

God said, "I have set before you life and death. ... Choose life." He said, "Thou shall not kill. " Jesus said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. "

Donna Holman
Keokuk, Iowa

A Modest Proposal for Peace

In view of a possible war against Iraq and the major crisis with North Korea, I propose a worldwide "around the clock" televised symposium with President George Bush, President Saddam Hussein, and President Kim Jong Il.

Unlike any other "sterile" meeting place, this symposium should be held in a place of natural beauty and wonder with pictures of inner and outer space. Provisions should be made to view, on screens, mankind's accomplishments, as well as the atrocities of war and the destructive forces of nature: earthquakes, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Such a symposium, in which there is no hiding behind name, fame, fortune, or position, will show the world and all brainwashed citizens who is a dictator or a truly human being and worthy leader.

I'm appealing, on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, to Bill Gates, Ted Turner, or any other billionaire to sponsor such a meeting, as it would cost a fraction what a war would, and with no loss of human lives and environmental damage. This symposium will create a sense of awe, wonder, humility, and respect for all life, and will change minds forever, for good, and then it will be unlikely that any soldier, on either side, will be found who will pull a trigger or drop a bomb. Please let's try it, for the sake of all of us.

Gunther Ostermann
British Columbia, Canada

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