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Letter from the Editor



Mark Rosenthal

On Thursday, May 6, 2004, against the advice of their own scientific advisors, the FDA, under the control of the Bush administration, barred over the counter sales of the morning after birth control pill, citing concerns about children as the justification for the denial of rights to adults.
This isn’t about abortion, people, it’s about choice.
It’s about whether or not women are to be considered equal citizens under the law.
Are women smart and capable enough to make their own decisions
About matters regarding their own bodies
Or are they in need of fatherly protection from their own emotional excess
In the form of a paternalistic government
That won’t trust them with a choice
But will trust them with a child?
Sarah Silverman wrote a joke while she was briefly employed at Saturday Night Live
That addressed this issue.
Silverman spoke of the 24-hour waiting period
several states were requiring before a woman would be “allowed”
to have an abortion and said:
“Quite frankly, I think it's a good law. I was going to get an abortion the other day. I totally wanted an abortion.... And it turns out I was just thirsty."

One of the most oft-quoted “facts” of the anti-choice movement
Is that life begins at the moment of conception and therefore
Abortion is the taking of a human life.
One of the most powerful signs I saw during the C-span coverage
Of the March for Women’s Rights this past April
Said simply: “Women’s lives ARE human lives.”
Through gag orders, parental notification laws, partial birth abortion bans, waiting periods, and the equation of the pro-choice movement with terrorists (thank you, Karen Hughes) this administration wants nothing less than to turn the clock back to the days when the only choice a pregnant woman had was to have a back-alley abortion or a baby. Unless, of course, the woman in question was rich.
Abortion has always been legal for rich women
And the women their husbands and sons impregnate
And it always will be
Because rich people can afford plane tickets
And private clinics.
It is only the non-rich among us
Who will be forced to have babies they can ill afford
Or risk their lives and/or their life savings
To have abortions.
I have heard many republican men and women
Speaking in dulcet tones
About how abstinence is the solution to the world’s problems
And how adoption is the alternative to abortion.
Oh, really?
Are the orphanages all empty?
Have all of the foster children been taken care of?
Next time you hear a republican
Or anyone for that matter
Spouting off about how adoption is the answer
Ask them how many kids they’ve adopted.
And when they say that’s not the point
Tell them they’re wrong.
And next time you hear that abstinence
Specifically “no sex before marriage”
is the answer
To all of our unwanted pregnancies
And sexually transmitted diseases
Ask how well that strategy worked in the 1950’s.
Then ask how well it worked in the 1650’s.
You might also ask if lesbian and gay people are exempted
Because they can’t get married
Or if no sex before marriage applies to them too
In which case it means no sex at all. (gee, let me guess…)
And, while I’m asking questions
What planet are these people living on?
See, on planet Earth, where I’m from
Sex isn’t controlled by a switch
That we flip on when we’re married
And off when we’re not.
Sex doesn’t wear a tie over his button down shirt
And sex doesn’t cross her legs at the ankles
Sex is a sloppy, messy, loud, obnoxious, ecstatic
Fool who likes to dance on tabletops and rarely plans ahead.
Women need safe, affordable access to health services such as
Birth control, abortions, condoms, mammograms, and gynecologists
They don’t need judgment for their sins
Or punishment for their mistakes
And they surely don’t need to ask permission
Or forgiveness
From anybody
For taking care of themselves and putting their health
Above the hypocritical pseudo-concerns
Of a bunch of religious zealots
Who believe women were created as an after-thought
To amuse Adam.

I don’t see what the problem is.
Nobody has ever said they want abortion to be mandatory.
We only want it to be safe and legal.
There’s a simple solution for all of those people who believe that abortion is wrong:
Don’t have one.
That’s how I deal with religion. It works for me.

Mark E. Rosenthal is co-editor of Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations
Against Bigotry, and he has been a regular contributor to the Lesbian News since 2000. Mark has also worked with Fringe Benefits Theatre Company for 12 years, creating and performing in many Theatres for Social Justice plays and workshops, and with Fringe Benefits is currently partnering with Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (www.FACTS1.com) to illuminate the unjustness of the law as it stands, and to encourage Californians to vote to amend it in November. Mark is also co-founder and past President of SMC's United Students for Fair Trade, and Mark will be transferring toColumbia University in the fall. You can email Mark at Diwractor@aol.com,
please write SMC VOICES in the subject line.





The Women’s College Magazine at Santa Monica College
Copyright 2003 Santa Monica College