Women’s Rights in a Man’s World

by Carol Stirling, Boise First Congregational United Church of Christ

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Anti-abortion legislators have introduced legislation that would make all abortions illegal and essentially overturn Roe v. Wade. In 2011, over 1,000 pieces of legislation have been introduced and 162 bills have been passed at the state level to restrict access to abortion and/or family planning.
During the Idaho 2012 legislative session, Senate bill 1387 was introduced which would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound procedure before the abortion. It would require a medical procedure on a woman already burdened with the personal decision of having to continue with the pregnancy or not.
There was a ground swell of opposition to the bill across the state of Idaho. During the public hearing on the bill, Sue Philley of Boise presented to the legislators a petition with 4,000 signatures against the pre-abortion ultrasound bill. She said, “Health care decisions are best made by patients and their medical providers, not politicians.” People felt the bill was a threat to freedom and that personal values of legislators were being forced on women. “Taking away freedom from women to make their own decisions about their own bodies, based on Mr. Winder’s (sponsor of the bill) personal beliefs, is discriminatory and wrong. It is about pursing personal preferences ahead of just treatment for everyone,” said Dan Morrow.