Friday, April 23, 2004
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Does a foetus have more rights than its mother?
Hundreds of thousands of American women are expected to converge on Washington DC this Sunday for a march the organisers claim will be the biggest in the history of women's rights - The March For Women's Lives.
Banners will call for the protection in law of a woman's right to abortion, which George Bush and his chums on the Christian right have energetically been trying to erode. The right to abortion is an issue that attracts a large consensus across different groups of women, and Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron, Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Aniston are just some of its high-profile supporters. Heavyweight liberal groups such as the National Organisation of Women and the American Civil Liberties Union will be marching alongside small local groups.
The battle between the pro-choice and anti-abortionist lobbies is well known, but another row about the foetus has been less well publicised: state prosecutors are telling American women exactly what they can and can't do when they are pregnant - and those who disobey are ending up in jail.
And the real skinny...
"The South Carolina case was never about protecting children," says Paltrow. "It was all about punishing the women."
While US law increasingly treats foetuses as cherished royalty, it is a different story once they take their first breath. "The US has a phenomenal disregard for the well-being of families. Almost every problem is seen as one of personal responsibility rather than social or community responsibility," says Paltrow.
"Eleven million children have no health insurance and 25% of them are living below the poverty line. Foetal rights are being used as weapons of maternal destruction. Women have achieved rights in the US but now these rights are hanging by a thread."
posted by RogueTrooper |