We'll be watching

By Carole Briggs

Brookville

Women, and men too, Oct. 2 came from Butler, Clarion, State College and communities in Jefferson County to express support for Roe v Wade, the landmark case in 1973 that established a woman's legal right to an abortion, a right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution.

Anticipating action this fall from the Supreme Court, they rallied on the courthouse lawn in Brookville, one of more than 650 such events happening in communities large and small across the nation.

One woman carrying a sign reading, "Safe, Legal, and Rare," said, "I have raised three children and know that welcoming them into this world, watching them grow and mature, has enriched my life. Not every woman has been as fortunate. Pregnancy occurs for many reasons, and sometimes causes parents and physicians to make difficult decisions. I've read the accounts of women who have made the decision to have an abortion, a decision that is never easy. If the perfect birth control method existed, the abortion controversy would disappear. However, the perfect birth control method does not exist. Appropriate reproductive health services like those offered by Planned Parenthood and education about responsible sexuality in our schools are important. Today's rally calls all of us to work together to make abortion safe, legal, and rare."

A participant from rural Forest County added, "In 2017 I marched in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of thousands of others. This year, I looked for a march close to home. State laws are limiting women's right to control their own lives. Abortion has been a constitutionally protected right for my entire adult life. Today, in response to a sign saying, ‘Honk to Save Abortion Rights,' a young woman honked and shouted enthusiastically as she drove by. She rounded the block, honking again. Then she joined the group, holding a sign aloft, ‘Abortion is Healthcare.' We older women fought this fight for our daughters many years ago, and we're fighting still. My giant embroidery hoop bore cloth on which I'd sewn, ‘I'm So Angry I Stitched This so that I could Stab Something 3,000 times.' Women are angry. We will not go back to the days of illegal abortions in unsterile alleys. Why do none of these new laws demand that the men who impregnate women be required to pay child support from the moment of conception? Because the laws are about control, not about life."

The sign of another young woman was pithy and pointed, "Until a baby comes out of a man's body an opinion against abortion shouldn't come out of his mouth."

Abortion and who controls a woman's body has been at the forefront of public issues for nearly five decades.

This week, the Supreme Court begins a new term. Six men and three women will decide issues related to gun rights, the separation of church and state, and capital punishment, but for the women of this country, the focus will be on abortion access.

The women and men who rallied in Brookville will be watching.

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