Yesterday, while I was off guest blogging at Drama For Mama and Motherese, a birthday party happened. The watershed SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade turned 37 yesterday.
Do you remember, if you are older than 37, what you were doing at that age? Had you become complacent in your life, with your thinking? Did you take things for granted?
Do you, if you are old enough, remember what you were doing in 1973? I have to admit I couldn’t give you details. I had turned 11 the fall previous. I had worked, that fall of 1972, on my first political campaign – stuffing envelopes. I don’t remember hearing the SCOTUS ruling at all.
As I became a teenager, Roe v Wade became more prominent. I read stories of how abortions had been performed illegally prior to the 1973 ruling. I read of women dying from these. I was a firm believer. I read feminist magazines and books and knew, 100% for sure, that it was my right to do what I wanted with my body.
In my 20′s, as I became a Roman Catholic and then a mother, the pendulum swung, not the big swing like on a clock but somewhat. I remember having a discussion with a close friend while our kids were listening to story hour. It must have been January so an earlier anniversary of the decision. I was explaining how I could see her point of view but it was not mine at that time. I didn’t deny that I still felt women should have access to legal abortion services. I just didn’t think I could partake in those services.
Now, I am sitting and Roe v Wade is 37. The initial ruling has some chinks in its armor. Things have eaten away at it. Some states still make it extremely difficult to receive abortions. Doctors have been killed over the ruling and, then, their services. I am fearful that this decision may not, as I will in a couple years, celebrate 50.
The past presidential election is what scared me on how long Roe v Wade has left in our society. It was not what either candidate said or did in the election. It was not a matter of how or who they would appoint to SCOTUS if given that opportunity. The scare came from young voters, women voters in the 18-24 age range. The ones I know, when asked, would say that abortion will always be legal here. That was not a concern for that.
The complacency I mentioned at the beginning of this showed in these women. Abortion had always been available in their lives. They could not foresee a change. I am hoping, but it is difficult, that they are correct. I am hoping that reproductive rights do not become a center point in US politics again, that reproductive rights do not spawn more killings than have already happened to doctors and health care providers.
If you would like more information, please view some of these links below.
RH Reality Check
Sarah Weddington on the 37th Anniversary of Roe v Wade
Reflections on a Decade of Reproductive Freedom
CNN Coverage of Yesterday