Young: Readying airlift for reproductive rights

·3 min read

What state will be next to fall under the Iron Curtain?

We speak here not of the ‘50s-‘60s, Commie kind. We speak but of the ‘22 Republican kind – the 12 GOP-controlled states prepared to ban abortion as soon as the Supreme Court gives the word.

In a land based on “freedom” – a word on many a pickup truck – it’s the most oppressive thing a state can do: order a woman, once pregnant, to gestate to term with almost no exceptions.

Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. [AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK/FILE]
Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. [AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK/FILE]

Several nations do that: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines among them.

Most developed countries, like ours once upon a time, came to reject this oppression.

Dating back to the 1960s, Romania banned abortion and contraception under a Communist government. When the Iron Curtain collapsed in 1989, an estimated 170,000 deprived children were found in decrepit orphanages. One of the first things Romanians did when the Red thumb was lifted was legalize abortion and birth control.

In a country like Communist Romania, women truly were captives of the state. They could not flee to Switzerland or France for these services.

Fortunately our nation has open highways and willing organizations to help women deal with unwanted pregnancies as they see fit.

With Gov. Gavin Newsom and key Democrats leading the way, California is making plans, if necessary, to become an abortion “sanctuary” – to help women get the service there, including paying for airfare, lodging and medical care.

With the Supreme Court refusing to stop Texas’ abortion ban, we have already seen women traveling out of state for the procedure. This happened routinely before Roe vs. Wade, but of course for women who could afford a plane ticket. Too often in states that banned abortion, women without such means self-aborted or went to shady back-alley providers.

People who support a woman’s right to choose – and that’s most Americans based on poll after poll – should shake out of their stupor.

The GOP has become a party diametrically opposed not only to abortion but holistic means of avoiding pregnancy, like birth control. This was not the case when President George H.W. Bush and many other Republicans identified family planning as a smart and sound policy.

Republicans have continued and heightened their political vendetta against Planned Parenthood, though the preponderance of what it does helps women avoid the abortion dilemma.So , what can be done for women in Texas, for instance, who need this service?

Sarah Wheat with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas said that though prohibited from providing the service, organizations aren’t prohibited from helping women get it out of state. To that end, “an incredible network of organizations is working together to help people who are traveling out of state.”

Such groups include the Austin-based Lilith Fund, Fund Texas Choice, the West Fund and the Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund. From these organizations a woman might get help with gas and lodging, as well as direct contact with a health center.

Add to this the possibility of plane fare from California should the Supreme Court do what most expect of it because of court picks whose ideologies on this matter do not match up with most of America’s.

Though what California has in mind – as these funds to aid women – is not the same as the Berlin airlift of 1948, which focused on food and fuel. Nonetheless it’s a mission that, like efforts to fight Red oppression in a sad and scary time in another era, will end up on the right side of history.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Young: Readying airlift for reproductive rights