01 May 2003 In Peterson Case, NOW Meddles Where It Doesn’t Belong, by Kimberley Wilson
In Greek mythology, the Furies were three female spirits who relentlessly pursued anyone who committed gross crimes such as murdering the very old, very young and family members. They tormented their victims with deafening screams and curses until the criminal either confessed or went insane.
When I heard that a chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) tied the prosecution of Scott Peterson to the abortion debate, I thought about the Furies.
When I heard Laci Peterson’s story, I was pretty sure she was dead. People walk away from their lives every day, but this woman was in her final trimester of pregnancy with her first child. She had a loving relationship with her family. It was Christmas Eve. It didn’t make sense that she just left.
As time passed, it also didn’t appear some crazed stranger took her. Suspicions centered on her husband, Scott. His odd behavior only made them stronger.
The bodies of Laci and her unborn son – whom she’d already named Connor – recently washed ashore from the San Francisco Bay, and Scott Peterson was arrested. He was charged with two counts of murder: one for his wife and the other for his son.
That is where the NOW comes – totally uninvited – into the story. Marva Stark, president of NOW’s Morris County, New Jersey chapter, objected to the double-murder charge, saying, “If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.”
Thanks for the sisterhood, Marva.
Instead of swooping down in defense of Laci Peterson and her family, NOW is apparently trying to make things easier for her alleged killer. These confused modern-day Furies aren’t screeching at Scott Peterson. By arguing that one of the murder charges be dropped, they are essentially standing in his corner.
The shock that Stark’s statement caused has forced some back-peddling, but there is no doubt this “trial balloon” betrays NOW’s priorities.
NOW seems so obsessed with abortion they seem willing to overlook a couple of facts. Connor was a viable baby. Childbirth can have complications, but – barring any problems in the delivery – this little boy would be alive today. Second, even if you believe an unborn baby is the property of its mother, you still can’t dismiss Connor’s murder. Laci Peterson – by all accounts from friends, relatives and neighbors – wanted her son and was excited about his upcoming birth.
If I kill my neighbor’s dog, I’ve destroyed his property and am liable for my actions in a court of law. When he allegedly took his wife’s life, Scott Peterson also allegedly destroyed the life of their son. Marva Stark apparently thinks the life of an unborn human isn’t worth as much as a dog’s.
Abortion is something nobody really wants to talk about anymore. Most of us have made up our minds and are exhausted by the argument. But the death of Laci Peterson and her child has nothing to do with Roe v. Wade. This was a terrible crime against the innocent and the helpless.
Three decades ago, NOW was founded with the intention of helping women obtain their full rights. Times have changed. Most of the organization’s original goals have been achieved.
No one thinks twice about women working outside the home anymore. Now, women who want to stay home and raise children often must convince their husbands to go along with it. Women are not only bumping up against the so-called glass ceiling, but an increasing number of us are shattering it. As for reproductive rights, more contraceptives are on the market than ever before.
Today, all that seems to hold NOW’s interest is abortion. This one-track mindset led Marva Stark to make comments that were not only crass, but also irrelevant.
The Peterson case is all about cold-blooded murder. NOW’s Furies should stay out of it.