Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Call to Arms

(a bit of useless info: did you know that's what 'tattoo' means in Scotland? Not a bunch of ink under 3 layers of skin?)

From Kate Michelman, a call to rally around the pro-choice movement once again:

The similarities to 1989—down to the surname of the president—are quite striking.

Then, pro-choice Americans feared quite rightly that a woman’s right to privacy was about to be taken away. And we reacted.

The pro-choice movement went back to its roots, into the streets and onto the airwaves. We spoke strongly, clearly and confidently. And we made the issue of choice—“Who Decides?”—one of the central questions of the day.

The results speak for themselves: in 1989, two new Democratic governors, Doug Wilder of Virginia and Jim Florio of New Jersey, were elected to succeed Republicans. The election of several key pro-choice senators in the mid-term election of 1990 severely weakened President George H.W. Bush and led the Democrats to recapture the Senate. And, after the unpleasant but galvanizing spectacle of the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992.

But as women’s rights leaders consider how to make lightning strike twice, there are key differences we need to keep in mind.

One is timing. The Court will not hear arguments on the federal abortion ban until this fall, which makes it highly unlikely that there will be a ruling before spring of 2007—well after the midterm elections.

It’s time to reassert our presence—and give voice to a new generation of pro-choice women. It’s time to put abortion into a larger context that rings true now and translates back into electoral politics in a way politicians cannot ignore.

It is time for a re-ignited public movement to hold its leaders accountable—to insist that politicians, like citizens, find the ability to speak in comfortable, forthright voices about the principles that make them pro-family, pro-values and pro-choice.

I'm going to a noontime rally in front of Virginia's General Assembly on Thursday. What else is there to do? What are you planning to do, even if it's just making a few phone calls or sending out a few emails?