Just my Thoughts · Politics · Religion

Roe versus Wade at 37

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

22 thoughts on “Roe versus Wade at 37

  1. You give me some small hope since it is m fervent desire to see Roe v. Wade overturned – for a variety of reasons,not the least of which was the fact that it was an unconstitutional violation of both the Separation of Powers and the 10th Amendment as it pertains to the role of the federal government v. that of the States.

    As for the extermination of baby-killers – that’s a sad necessity that was the result of Roe v. Wade circumventing and curtailing the democratic process in regards to abortion / infanticide.

  2. I don’t think aborting George Tiller was a good thing. However, I also don’t see why it’s any more “heinous” than the murders he committed on the estimated 60K people he is credited with.

  3. To my mind whether or not exterminating Tiller was a good thing is dependent upon the motivations of his executioner. If it was for vengeance or in judgment, then it was not a good thing. If, on the other hand, it was to defend the weak and innocent, then it was good work mostly well done.

    In either case, the end result was for the greater good, but down that road lays the murky evils of consequentialism.

  4. I personally don’t believe people should have abortions as I know many couples who are desperate to adopt a child. However, I think by giving the government control over our decisions is a step in the absolute wrong direction. As it is now, Americans are lazy, don’t like to evaluate things and can’t think on their own. That’s why our government works so well. I believe that we need to teach Americans how to be more ethical and evaluate their actions.
    I also think it is assinine for others to say women should not have abortions. We are not in the position to tell women what they should do for the next 25 years. If you are one of the people who believe in telling women not to have abortions, I think you should spend your time either finding a home that meets the values of the biological mother or get another job and take that money to raise the children that were going to be aborted.

  5. I think the battle should be fought at the ballot box. Women can vote. Babies cannot. Women can choose to vote for candidates who will speak for them in our representative Republic. I have to believe that the babies would vote not to be delivered thru the birth canal except for their head, have a pair of scissors jammed into the back of their skull and the have their brain suctioned out.

    I think the men that impregnate women should step up and take responsibility for their action. If a woman is raped, it is not the baby that needs killing.

    Yes, this is a cliche`but everybody who has ever voted pro choice has already been born.

  6. A very thoughtful and brave post. In light of some of the comments here I’m a little nervous entering a debate. I will say this: I pray for a world where abortion is unnecessary. I pray that every child conceived is a wanted child. And, yes, even as someone raised in the Catholic church, I pray that abortion remains a safe option for women in trouble. My grandmother lost HER mother at age 4. My great-grandmother was pregnant again with her 7th child. They were dreadfully poor and my great-grandfather was an absent father and town drunk. She died from a “backdoor” abortion. And my grandmother (and my aunts and uncles)grew up without a mother.

  7. No need to fear as I am acutely aware that we, as Americans have an inalienable right to our own ideals, mores, opinions, etc. (I’m not physically dangerous and am actually a normal human being, I just have strong convictions.) I don’t judge my opinions to be any more relevant than yours.

    Look, I would not have wished any physical harm to George Tiller. I would, however, have very cheerfully put his ass in prison. He “Murdered” 60,000 babies. Any way you look at it. It’s totally foolish to acquiesce to the ruling of the US Supreme Court about how many centimeters long and how many grams heavy a “fetus” must be to be designated as a human being. Jesus Christ acknowledges them as a human being and his is the ONLY opinion that does matter.

    Now, as I’ve opened up THAT can of worms, let me also say that I’m also acutely aware that he is perfect and I most certainly am not. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not even sure that I’m totally aware of the magnitude of the whole problem. But, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that anybody who is capable of killing a child is a piece of shit.

  8. I appreciate the civility of the discussion even though I may not agree with all of the opinions expressed.

    Jane – like you, I wish there was no need or desire for abortion. I do worry about abortion remaining available and legal. I remember – vaguely and definitely second and third hand – those stories of illegal abortions. I do not want us to return to that.

  9. I remember reading of very similar arguments about not being in favor of something, but not wanting to stop it or make it illegal. They were from quasi-abolitionists in the North prior to the US Civil war.

    I don’t see how anyone can think that they can have it both ways, which is what some of you sound like you want. Either the unborn child is a person and abortion is the sickest form of murder, or the fetus is not a person and its a woman’s right to choose what to do with or about it.

    Wouldn’t you use every means at your disposal to protect a child from being murdered, even up into and including lethal force if no other option was left to you? If you would so and you believe the unborn are children, how can you not do the same for them?

  10. You know, I have experience with this subject. It was life or death. Fetus’ life = MY death. I’ll spare the details, its to personal for online. I was 10 weeks and there were most assuredly complications that I was already lucky to be alive with the promise of many more life threatening complications to come.

    I had 2 children who still needed me. Although it was medically necessary, I am fortunate that I had access to those services but have never been the same since. It changes who you are. This makes me think, would I be here today if it hadn’t been availalbe? What happened when it was medically neccessary before 1973? Would I have been alive today or would it have cost me my life and left my children motherless?

    I was 2 years old in 1973 so I was probably giving my Mom a hard time.

    1. I am sorry you have had first hand experience with this subject, Deena. I know – as I have a friend who worked at an abortion clinic – that it does indeed change you. You did what you had to do as a mother to two boys. And, that is, ultimately, all we do as parents – what we have to.

  11. Thanks Nicki, it’s okay now. One thing that I will say about or to rather, anti-abortion people using scare and emotional tactics on women using pictures of what a fetus looks like at 4, 6, 8 weeks, so on. That is a lie. A flat out lie. The complications I faced has nothing to do with any underformed or malformed fetus.

    Something that was important to me as part of my greiving process was that I got to see little him/her before it was taken away. It turned out to be neither. It was a tremendous relief. At 10 weeks, it was NOT anything resembling a fetus or anything else you see on the internet about the developmental stages a fetus goes through. I saw it with my own eyes and that is something that nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise.

    I’m not pro or anti on the issue. Its just something that so different for each individual that I dont feel qualified to say one way is right or wrong for everyone.


  12. Deena,

    In 1973 you would have undergone essentially – modified for relative levels / advances of medical care – the same procedure to abort the child. There has never been a ban on truly medically necessary – defined as physical need – abortions. Nor is there any significant move today to change that.

  13. A few thoughts:

    Open-heart surgery, bone-marrow biopsies, and breast cancer mastectomies look awful, too.

    If cows could vote, they would vote not to be slaughtered, too. What makes a human life more valuable than other animals’ lives?

    Jane writes, “I pray that every child conceived is a wanted child. And…I pray that abortion remains a safe option for women in trouble.”

    The campaigns against abortion rights are not based on whether the child is “wanted” or not or whether a woman is “in trouble” or not. Who determines that, anyway? Some judge who’s meeting this woman for the first time? Laws are stiff things. Even if you are on the fence about the issue…you are on the side of Roe vs. Wade, because anti-abortion laws ain’t gonna protect women one bit.

    This is what a lot of younger women aren’t seeing, according to Nicki…am I right?

    1. Mitch – that is what a lot of younger women aren’t seeing. They also aren’t seeing that these current rights can be taken away more easily than they think.

      1. OK, they could loose the privilege of killing their unborn children at will. Yet, overturning Roe v Wade wouldn’t directly cause that. It would only turn the matter over to the States, where it properly – 10th Amendment – belongs.

        But, in any case, why do you believe it is women’s right to kill their unborn children for any or no reason at all?

      2. Agreed, Nicki. In a country so oriented on individual liberty, the Patriot Act went through easily enough. Fear is powerful, and the right wing uses it well. Indifference doesn’t cut it…it didn’t cut it in Nazi Germany, that’s for sure. Just saying.

      3. jonolan – I do not subscribe to this idea that an embryo/fetus is a child. Until it is not dependent on its host for survival, i.e. out of the womb breathing on its own, it is still an embryo/fetus.

        The idea that a fetus is a child originated with a goal, just like every idea does. That goal was to place women as the means of reproduction, i.e., baby-making machines, in a society that would extend these reproductive responsibilities to rearing the child and socializing it for entry into society in a way that even schools cannot.

        Modern capitalism’s “nuclear family” fetishized the “woman-as-child-rearer” and deprived her of basic rights, including rights over her own body. The mythology of the fetus being a child has always been a central focal point of that strategy. It’s time to toss this idea onto the trash-heap of history.

      4. Mitch,

        While depraved, your position is consistent at least. If the unborn aren’t people, then abortion must be considered a basic freedom.

        And yes, I bluntly declare the position you stated as depraved. By the measure you stated it would be perfectly acceptable to kill a baby in the last hours before birth and it would be only simple battery were someone to beat a late term pregnant woman and cause her to miscarry.

        But perhaps you misspoke yourself.

      5. No, I did not misspeak. And you are free to say that my position is depraved.

        One thing, though: there is a difference between the situation of a woman who wants her pregnancy and one who doesn’t. Your example of battery involves someone who wants her pregnancy.

        It’s as if someone battered another and broke their beautiful table… the table being broken has value to the one being battered, so it definitely counts.

        However, if the person who has a table in this previous example goes and throws this table to the curb because it has no value to her, that’s fine. An unwanted table is unwanted–same as an unwanted pregnancy. Yet the pregnancy carries far greater risk of complications.

        And thus, it must be her choice. Anti-abortion laws make no room for choice, and that’s why they should be opposed.

  14. Good Grief, Mitch. You can’t tell the difference between a child, a cow and a table? What makes a human’s life more valuable than any other animal’s? By your analogy, wild animals who kill humans should be prosecuted.

    Cows are killed and I get a steak.

    1. Yes I can tell the difference. That doesn’t invalidate that the killing of a cow is the killing of a living being that would vote to live if it could 🙂

      And I know you know the difference between an embryo/fetus and a living child. You aren’t as clueless as you’re making yourself sound 🙂

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