By Paul A. Wright
The TV news lately has been full of governors, legislators, elected officials and citizens who proclaim themselves to be "pro-life" and thus, anti-abortion. The last year has seen attempts by Gov. Martinez in Florida to make abortion impossible to obtain for young and poor women. The Louisiana legislature sought to outlaw all abortions. All the while, claiming they seek to protect human, that of the unborn fetus.
That concern for human life stops as soon as the fetus is born. Both states lead the nation in poor health care for infants, malnutrition and poverty. Florida leads the nation with 322 prisoners on death row and has murdered 22 since 1976, Louisiana has 33 men on death row and has murdered 19. Fetal "life" is sacred by adults are fair game, both states also execute minors and the mentally retarded. The Southern US routinely enacts the most restrictive laws on abortion. Yet the "Death Belt" (Texas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama) accounts for nearly half of US death row prisoners and 102 of 128 executions since 1976.
Gov. Martinez who expresses a "concern for human life" in opposing abortion, has signed dozens of death warrants on prisoners. Statistics repeatedly show the death penalty does not deter crime. This is hardly a surprise, how many people in prison set out to commit a crime knowing they will be caught? So why have it at all?
The death penalty is the ultimate sanction of a system based on exploitation oppression. Almost without exception, it falls on the poor, minorities, mentally ill and most disadvantaged sectors of society. Has anyone heard of a rich man on death row?
Why do the some men who cheer and support the death penalty oppose abortion? Abortion is a health/medical decision to be made by women, it is a basic question of the most fundamental control over one's body. Men would never stand for the idea of the government telling them what medical treatment they can and cannot receive, why should women? Who should control a woman's body? The woman or the state? That is the issue.
Like the death penalty, outlawing abortion falls most heavily on the poor. Wealthy women will always find private doctors to perform safe abortions or be able to travel to states with legal (read safe) abortions. It will be the young, the poor, and minorities who will be victimized by illegal abortions. These are the same people least able to support or care for unwanted children, the same children most likely to grow up ill and uneducated due to the low level of social spending in the US, thus becoming prime candidates for the death penalty.
Whenever you see these sanctimonious hypocrites crying alligator tears about legal abortion, find out where they stand on the death penalty. Is all human life valued or after they're born are they on their own? Or is it just an excuse to continue to dominate and subjugate women by forcing them to have unwanted children?
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