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Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2001 / 17 Elul, 5761

Ann Coulter

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Dear NOW Member:

Feminist activists and other progressives are now faced with what could be the scariest prosecution since Susan Smith took action to combat depression in a lake near her home in South Carolina.

This time, anti-progressive forces may seek the death penalty against Andrea Yates, a fascinating woman and mother of five, for dealing with a crippling depression in the best way she knew how.

This intelligent and resourceful woman could be sentenced to death simply for taking a controversial and bold view of "human life."

Deprived of the typical male-oriented weapons of destruction, Yates was forced to improvise a late-term abortion procedure in her own bathtub. This is just the sort of can-do spirit that made this country great.

Yates' choices didn't make it easy. Tricky little monsters that they were, Yates' choices -- post-partum fetuses aged 6 months to 7 years -- only added to Yates' incomprehensibly stressful life by trying to flee the abortion provider (or "mom").

Men still just don't "get it." A home paid for by a man is no place for a woman. Women belong in the Oval Office, on corporate boards, in military fighter planes. Many are asking: How could Yates' husband be so out of touch? Human rights advocate Rosie O'Donnell may have put it best when she said she felt "overwhelming empathy" for Yates.

And yet, Yates could be sent to prison -- or even the death chamber -- for exercising her right to choose.

The radical right-wing D.A. has acknowledged that he will prosecute Yates for her "crime." With a straight face, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said: "The citizens of Harris County ought to be able to consider the full range of punishment in this case."

These bigoted ravings have no place in a post-feminist society. Let Texas know that it doesn't have to sink to the level of Iran to be seen as "tough on crime."

As you well know, nothing comes easy to women in America. (The NOW human rights project ranks the United States the most anti-choice nation within the global community!)

Almost unbelievably, right-wing radicals (men!) are not content to place this fascinating woman in prison. They have imposed a gag rule on her tragic ordeal. It is little known, for example, that Yates is:

  • white,

  • middle class,

  • a mother of five so-called "children,"

  • supported by her husband.

And now the right-wing radical Texas prosecutor wants to help make Yates life even more difficult by punishing her.

Unlike Timothy McVeigh, who allegedly had been sent to war and might have been suffering from alleged "post-traumatic stress syndrome," or Nikolay Soltys, who recently made the difficult decision to terminate the lives of six family members and some might argue was suffering from alleged "provider-stress syndrome," Yates ordeal was nearly incomprehensible. Year after year for almost a decade, Yates had been forced to endure the burden of being supported by a man.

Yates' hardship is so heart-wrenching that clearly she's entitled to treatment and not punishment. But radical right-wing extremists say Yates is not fit to be president and to control the nuclear codes simply because she is a woman!

The right-wing media have been pursuing a very disturbing line of questioning, such as whether this beautiful, fascinating, delicate flower Andrea Yates "murdered" her so-called "children."

NOW facts about post-partum depression:

  • When facing an unplanned depression, many women (about 27 percent) make the difficult decision to kill their children.

  • A substantial number of those who do not (79 percent) cite fear of prison as the main reason.

  • Many state laws (98 percent) illogically treat women like rational beings.

  • Many women (64 percent) are mature enough to become mothers, but not mature enough to make their own abortion decisions before the choice grows into a teen-ager.

  • Judicial approval for post-partum choice is time-consuming and increases physical, emotional and financial hardship (71 percent).

Anti-choice laws pressuring women not to kill their children are dangerous. As the Taliban instructs, no one has ever produced a shred of evidence that women are capable of being treated like rational adults.

NBC "Today Show" host and president of the Andrea Yates Legal Defense Fund Katie Couric has observed, "Yates was an extremely troubled woman." (Call 1-800-We-R-Nuts to contribute!) Couric advised that "any money left over will be given to women's charities dealing with post-partum depression and psychosis."

Join NBC. Join Rosie and Katie. Do it for your daughter or your granddaughter (unless you are depressed and need to kill them).

Women elected the last president, and we will elect his successor. We have tremendous power as voters, as activists and as organizers in our communities. We will create a feminist future. And we are out of our minds.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.

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