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MOLLY IVINS TWO WHOLE WEEKS of an invigorating, relaxing vacation brought me back clear-eyed, full of strength and hope, to gaze anew upon our current political scene. Good grief, what a disgusting sight. Oh, well. Let’s tackle the sucker piece by piece. The priority for women right now is a package of bills said to “chip away” at a woman’s right to choose whether or not to bear a child. Chip away?! Hell, they’re more like a whack with a wrecking ball. The anti-choice movement is on a roll. \(The reason I refuse to call these people “pro-life” is because so many of them aren’t. Hitler, for example, was virulently opposed to abortion, but he wasn’t what you could call pro-life. The “pro-life” movement, while not responsible for the crazies it attracts, has nevertheless produced murderoff the nomination of Dr. Henry Foster for surgeon general on the grounds that he performed 39 abortions in the course of a 38year medical career during which he helped deliver thousands of babies. This is a man who, on his own, started a successful program to reduce teen-age pregnancies that has been honored by Republican and Democrats alike. During his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee, Foster impressed those of both parties as a decent man of ability and wisdom. This is the man whom the Christian right labeled a “condom king,” a “ghoul” and a man with “blood on his hands.” Foster was denied public office because the Republican Party is in thrall to the antichoice movement. The scramble of Sens. Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, etc., for the support of the Christian Coalition so they can win the Republican nomination was the immediate cause of Foster’ s rejection. The larger political reality is that the Republicans have sold out to the Christian right, which fact presents pro-choice Republican women with a particularly painful dilemma. I don’t know how they will resolve it, but at least they can help in the current crisis of the bills before Congress. By now it’s a truism that an entire generation of women has come to adulthood with no notion of what it was like before the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Those of us who do remember owe it to our daughters to see that they never have to find out. By now our arguments are familiar, our Molly Ivins, a former Observer editor, is a columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. stances are hardened and common ground is the hardest thing to find in the abortion debate. I think there are only two points worth re-emphasizing. The first is that Roe v. Wade did not legalize “abortion on demand.” It is a complex decision that allows states to set increasingly tougher standards for abortion in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The anti-choice movement consistently ignores or misrepresents the different trimester standards. Besides, no woman six months pregnant ever waddled past an abortion clinic and said, “Oh, darn. I knew there was something I’ve been meaning to do. I think I’ll get that abortion today.” Please. Women are moral, sentient human beings. This issue is difficult enough without insulting the women who have to make excruciating choices. The second point is that the real issue in the abortion debate is “Who decides?” A government that has the power to decide that a woman cannot have an abortion can also decide to force her to have an abortion. It is simply the reverse of the current policy in China. It is ironic that conservatives who protest “government interference” with everything from how many ducks they can shoot to whether they can deduct a business lunch think the government should decide whether a woman should bear a child. TOBACCO IS ONE of America’s biggest cash crops. Not “down on the farm””up on the Hill.” Capitol Hill, that is. Where tobacco company lobbyists, lawyers, PACs and top executives regularly go down the corridors handing out checks: “Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Senator!” If you can’t imagine why Congress continues to tolerate the antics of an industry that kills 400,000 Americans a year, targets our children with ads for their addictive product and rather routinely blows smoke at Congress and the public about the dangers of tobacco… just follow the industry’s money trail. Jim Hightower, a former Observer editor and Texas agriculture commissioner, does daily radio commentary and a weekend call-in talk show on the ABC Radio Network. Many people are genuinely anti-abortion but also pro-choice. No one in this country is in favor of forcing people to have abortions; the only coercion in this debate comes from the anti-choice side. The measures due to be debated by the House of Representatives constitute a broad and concerted drive to reverse abortion rights. They include overturning new requirements by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education that all obstetrics-gynecology residency training programs offer abortion training \(any student who is morally opposed to abortion is ex230-196 to bar abortions in military hospitals, as though female soldiers and military wives had no rights under the Constitution. Another proposal would outlaw a procedure used in late-pregnancy abortions to save the life of the mother. The procedure accounts for 0.04 percent of all abortions performed after 24 weeks, and this proposal would institute criminal charges against any doctor who used it. We have heard a great deal lately about “angry white men” in America. It is high time that our representatives in Washington heard from some angry women. We have a responsibility to our daughters, our nieces and our granddaughters. In the past decade, tobacco giants have put nearly $17 million into our lawmakers, turning them into their lawmakers. Philip Morris has invested $5 million, RJ Reynolds $4.8 million, U.S. Tobacco nearly $3 million…and on down the line, achieving nearly blanket coverage: Of Congress’ current members, eight-out-often have tobacco cash in their pockets. In this Congress, the House Commerce Committee has become the burying ground for any legislation to curtail the greed of big tobacco. Presiding over this legislative funeral is the committee chair, Tom “The Mortician” Bliley. Believe it or not, this guy actually is a mortician, running a lucrative funeral business in Richmond, Virginia! Once again, real life proves to be stranger than satire. Besides the fact that Bliley’s business profits from people who die, from smoking, he has a more immediate incentive to kill JIM HIGHTOWER 10 JULY 14, 1995