January 22, 2012

Remember Christian Extremism on the 39th Anniversary of Roe

Keep Abortion LegalToday is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman's legal right to abort a pregnancy. As we celebrate this important case and its promotion of reproductive freedom, we must not forget to acknowledge a very real problem Roe has exposed.

In the years since Roe, we have seen a constant push from evangelical fundamentalist Christians to overturn it. We have also witnessed an organized campaign of harassment, intimidation, and violence directed at doctors who perform the procedure, one which many terrorist groups would be proud to claim. This campaign of terror has largely been waged by Christian extremists, providing evidence that they are a clear and present danger right here in the U.S.

I do not mean to suggest that only Christians oppose Roe. That is not the case. There are even some atheists who oppose abortion and/or would prefer to see it prohibited by the law. But I do believe that religion makes it nearly impossible to have a meaningful discussion about abortion and that nearly all of the violence directed at abortion providers has been religiously-motivated.

For me, banning abortion represents a fundamental assault on women. Women should be free to make health care decisions without government interference. I suppose in this way, I'm far more of a "small government" advocate than libertarian darling Ron Paul. I also believe that reality-based sex education and affordable access to effective contraception are critical in minimizing the number of abortions needed. You see, I am pro-choice not pro-abortion. I want to keep abortion legal and available while simultaneously making it less necessary.

For these reasons, I will continue to support reproductive rights for women, oppose efforts to curtail these rights, and call attention to examples of Christian terrorism. As you celebrate Roe today, do not forget that this is one freedom under constant assault from Christian extremists. We must remain vigilant to the threat they pose and be prepared to counter their influence as necessary.

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