Oh, that's just great. An abortion clinic is set afire, and we don't know by whom, or why. If it was done by someone who loathes abortion, he or she is not alone. I wouldn't wish one...

Share story

Oh, that’s just great. An abortion clinic is set afire, and we don’t know by whom, or why.

If it was done by someone who loathes abortion, he or she is not alone. I wouldn’t wish one on anybody.
But I also know that the legal procedure is a necessary right for women who want to control their bodies — and lives — in a safe, civilized way.

That was made possible at the Eastside Women’s Health Clinic in Olympia before someone torched it Sunday morning.

After sorting through the damage, officials ruled the whole mess an arson and are investigating. So far, they have not linked the suspects to any anti-abortion group.

Still, I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade is Jan. 22.

What people miss when clinics catch fire are the services provided along with the abortions that some can’t abide. The clinic has been operating since 1981 and sees 30 to 40 patients daily, many of them for basic care.

“Diabetes, high blood pressure, sore throat, everything,” said clinic co-owner Nancy Armstrong, who is a nurse practitioner. The arsonists “have inconvenienced a lot of people who don’t have a place to be seen.”

But while the crime cut service, it sure provided choice-minded women an unnecessary reminder that our bodies are still under siege by those who don’t live in them.

Keep yourselves clean and pretty, ladies. Make babies and balanced meals. But anything down there, well, you want to run it past us first, you hear?

Consider recent actions of state and federal governments tracked by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit focused on sexual and reproductive health, research, policy analysis and public education.

President Bush has nominated 19 anti-choice judges to federal appellate courts and appointed two during the Senate recess — bypassing the Senate approval process.

Seven states introduced (and Mississippi enacted) legislation allowing health-care providers to refuse women services, including referrals.

In recent years, nearly $1 billion in state and federal funds have been spent on abstinence-only education. Not only does it deny young people vital information on the effectiveness of condoms and other contraceptives, it puts them at a higher risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

Is it any wonder, then, that when I called Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she was hoarse from lobbying for family planning legislation?

“I think this will indeed be the hardest year of my career,” Feldt said yesterday from Capitol Hill, where she is introducing “a major unwanted-pregnancy-prevention package.” I told her about the clinic arson; she had already heard. “It’s never over,” she said. “You can never let down your guard.”

Not when it comes to our bodies, those who think they own them and those who try to turn our choices to embers.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

There’s got to be a morning after.