We need to tell Virginia's theocrats to stop shaming women who have made the very personal and constitutionally sanctioned decision to have an unwanted pregnancy terminated.
On Jan. 16, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution to recognize , the date on which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that access to abortion is a woman's constitutional right, as the "Day of Tears" in Virginia. The resolution will encourage citizens of the state to lower their flags to half-mast once a year in mourning of the pregnancies that have been terminated since the Supreme Court's decision.
Sponsor Virginia State Rep. Benjamin L. Cline held a Jan. 12 news conference accompanied by Ken Adams, a leader of the Day of Tears organization, an anti-abortion group, and Christopher Freund, vice president of the Family Foundation, which advocates a "biblical worldview" on public policy.
The church has historically been the primary organized opposition to constitutional abortion rights — and women's reproductive liberty in general. For government officials to advocate a biblical viewpoint on matters of family planning and women's rights is a disregard for the enshrined principle of state governance free of religion as well as a woman's right to govern her own body.
Furthermore, this is a wildly inappropriate measure for legislative officials who are disproportionately male to make. This resolution signals to the public that the General Assembly denigrates women who have exercised their right to make the decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and that Roe V. Wade was a tragedy rather than a milestone for women's rights.
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Resolution 268 declaring the anniversary of Roe V. Wade as an annual "Day of Tears" is founded on a dangerously theocratic platform that threatens the rights of women — and all Americans protected by the First Amendment's separation between church and state. The Virginia House should have better things to do than advocate the public shaming of women exercising rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. Religious dogma should not be used to govern the public. The anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe V. Wade should instead be commemorated for ensuring women the reproductive freedom and privacy historically denied to them by the church's influence in our government. Please rescind this inappropriate resolution.
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