Sisterhood Blog

How Anti-Abortion Activists Are Winning the Debate

By Sarah Seltzer

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Dina Lamdany, the young Jewish feminist blogger behind From the Rib, is looking into abortion-rights organizations at the colleges she is considering. Citing the legacy of strong Jewish women in the abortion-rights movement, she hopes to join Students for Choice or the equivalent at whatever school she ends up at. She writes:

So that’s why I believe that it’s important for me to join a pro-choice group when I go to college: because reproductive rights are important, because I want to make sure that abortion stays legal and safe for women, but also because I want my peers to learn to appreciate and want to protect the rights that we have been lucky enough to have been born with.

She writes about the generation gap — about how young people born with the assumed right and ability to take control of their reproductive health whether it’s through birth control, abortion or the morning after pill, have a little understanding of how those rights are slipping away.

But slipping away they are, even as the gap between how easy Americans perceive it is to obtain an abortion and how difficult it actually is continues to grow. While nearly half of all Americans say it’s “too easy” to get an abortion, according to Rasmussen, the reality, as this Daily Kos post shows, is one of endless and new hurdles.

In the past few weeks restrictive laws have passed in American states, abortion has been systematically excluded from health insurance pools under the new rules, and clinics have shuttered their doors. So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that push an overtly anti-abortion agenda — including a new Jewish one — keep springing up.

I hate to beat the same drum I frequently have at The Sisterhood, but I’m alarmed. The simple fact is, they’re winning. The anti-choice movement is winning on the ground and in terms of perception. Laura Tillman did an excellent investigative piece over at The Nation, indicating that even women with access to abortion are resorting to at-home, risky self-induced abortions rather than face the stigma and cost at the clinic. Tillman’s piece asks the question: “Is the Post-Roe Era Already Here?” and seems to suggest that it is.

That’s why we should applaud young women like Dina who aim to spread the word on campus, and try to avoid complacency in ourselves. As we reflect and listen to the Shofar calling us awake during these High Holy Days, we should keep in mind that our continued vigilance is desperately needed in this movement.


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