Friday, July 5, 2013

Gun Rights v. Abortion Rights

As I fight for abortion rights and reproductive justice for all women, I  think about the slippery slope.  You know – that slippery slope that we slide down when restrictions made on access to contraception lead to restrictions on abortion?  I can see the very same restrictions being made on assault rifles seeming like a slippery slope to all guns.

Don't mistake that statement as support for gun rights. I do not like guns. I am not a member of the NRA. However,  I do believe that the Constitution is the basis of our democracy and needs to be interpreted to serve the needs of ALL its citizens. I have very mixed feelings about these laws, their opponents and proponents.   I haven’t yet formed a staunch opinion about potential legislation, mostly because I cannot reconcile the parallel to the rights that I hold dear.

I do feel strongly that guns that are “military grade” and/or “automatic” are not used for hunting, or really even sporting.  Who needs to use these deadly weapons for target practice? Who claims this as a hobby?  Ex-military?  Cops? Militia Members? Grandpas and Grandmas?  Would we be comprising their way of life by denying their rights to these weapons?  Probably not.  Are those people scared that we’ll come after their other shot guns, handguns, high powered rifles, etc.?  Probably. 

I understand the slippery slope better than most. I have watched my rights to abortion and contraception deteriorate over the past 10 years. Many states have passed laws requiring waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, limits to abortions past 20 weeks, pharmacists allowed to deny women their prescription birth control or over-the-counter morning after pill on religious grounds.  In recent weeks, social media helped propel Wendy Davis into the reproductive justice spotlight with her awesome filibustering in the Texas State Senate of SB5 (links you to the actual bill). She was fighting against a law that would require clinics that provide abortions to upgrade to ambulatory centers AND require those doctors to have privileges at hospitals within a 30 miles range. All in the name of women's health.

To many people, this seems like a perfectly good argument.  It's just to help women's health, right?  WRONG! It essentially will shut down what few clinic exist because 1) they don't have the funds to upgrade (an entirely separate issue related to lack of funding for women's health due to spending cuts), and 2) in many rural areas there are no hospitals within 30 miles.  Shutting down these facilities will stop abortions and it will also stop the prenatal, gynecological and breast exams that women receive at these facilities   They don't just go there for abortions, they go there for STD testing, to refill their birth control prescriptions, for pap smears to prevent cervical cancer, to receive prenatal vitamins, and a myriad of other health services. All at reduced cost because many are without insurance. Where will they go now? How will their health suffer?  If pro-life advocates generate laws that chip away at abortion rights, we will either end up in a situation where the Supreme Court has the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, or they will diminish abortion rights until there is nothing left of Roe v. Wade. 
We'll keep fighting these battles for eternity, it seems.  The battle over gun rights seems to be in a similar situation.  I hope both sides of these issues can have honest and open discussions about true intentions, actual risks, and potential casualties. - Birth control pills should really be made for men. It makes more sense to unload a gun than to shoot a bulletproof vest. DBSN


Bajaj@iitd said...
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Richard Legaree said...

Self control is the only control that is 100%. That, I believe is genderless.

Gilgamesh said...

Rebecca, I am sending to you the greatest due respect to your person, soul and spirit. Big hug, my girl- friend.