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A Reactionary Measure

Letter to the Editors

By Elizabeth F. Janiak

To the editors:

I applaud your astute criticism of the so-called “partial-birth” abortion ban recently approved by the U.S. Senate (Editorial, “Undermining Roe v. Wade,” March 31). I would like to add, however, that the real agenda underlying this maneuver is to establish a foothold for anti-abortion activists to continue to chip away at women’s rights.

This ban is not about women’s health; it is not about saving unborn “children;” it is not even about moral choices according to particular religious traditions. The overarching goal of most anti-abortion activists is to reinstate traditional family structures and gender roles they believe have broken down in the United States during the past half-century, while aiming to prevent a shift in women’s status abroad by opposing the distribution of contraception and abortion services through international aid. This ban is misogynist, its proponents are dishonest, and its spirit is reactionary. Our reasons to oppose it must, therefore, extend beyond the apt concern for women’s welfare that you express.

Elizabeth F. Janiak ’03

March 31, 2003

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