Public outrage

Martin Luther King’s birthday is about resistance to forms of enslavement and insistence on our freedoms and our dignity. His birthday prompts me to speak out against the concerted attempt in this country to roll back the clock on the freedoms and rights of women. Statistics show that poverty in America is feminized and that violence in the form of rape and sexual harassment is feminized.

The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill fiasco, as well as the failure of Congress to override the President’s veto of the “gag rule” that denies government funds to any agency that names abortion as one method of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, shows beyond doubt that women cannot depend on male legislators to represent them.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania case shows the Court’s determination to gut Roe vs. Wade, eroding women’s First Amendment rights and their right to choice. To top it off, anti_choice forces apparently speak so loudly to the venal political ear of this country that they are managing to block the mere testing in the U.S. of RU 486, a “morning after” drug. Despite the fact that RU 486 offers the possibility of help against breast cancer and other diseases, anti_choice forces have worked against (successfully, thus far) its importation from France because it can be used for abortion. Not only is a foetus more important than a woman, but apparently the mere possibility of a threat to a foetus is more important than the health of women. We should be outraged! And we should make our outrage public.

It is perfectly clear that the current crop of congressmen will not speak for us. It is perfectly clear that if we remain silent, we are in complicity with the denial of our own rights. So we must speak for ourselves and speak out, working with one another in organizations such as the local chapter of NOW for the election of people committed to the rights of women.

Marsha J. Watson

Graduate Student

English Dept. Doctoral Program