I’m too tired (and maybe a little too upset) to write eloquently right now, but yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in the United States. It’s frustrating and almost frightening to think that that a fundamental right that women have possessed for 40 years is slowly being taken away by state laws.
Don’t take your rights for granted. Read something. And get worried, because this is the 21st century, and women’s rights to control their own reproductive systems should not still be a topic of discussion.
“As memories of women dying from illegal pre-Roe abortions become more distant, the pro-choice cause is in crisis. In 1973, female lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights said Roe v. Wade was “a tribute to the coordinated efforts of women’s organizations, women lawyers and all women throughout this country.” … If abortion-rights activists don’t come together to adapt to shifting public opinion on the issue of reproductive rights, abortion access in America will almost certainly continue to erode. In many ways, the fight to preserve access to abortion is even more daunting than the fight to legalize it 40 years ago. In a dynamic democracy like America, defending the status quo is always harder than fighting to change it. The story of pro-choice activism after Roe reveals that there may be nothing worse for a political movement’s future than achieving its central goal.”
New York Magazine
“Another case for abortion as self-determination (through reproductive autonomy) has been made using the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and forbids involuntary servitude. Pregnancy and motherhood is work, wrote Northwestern University legal scholar Andrew Koppelman in a 1990 article, therefore any state laws banning abortion “violate the amendment’s guarantee of equality, because forcing women to be mothers makes them into a servant caste, a group which, by virtue of the status of birth, is held subject to a special duty to serve others and not themselves.” Labor isn’t just a pun. Koppelman is careful differentiate the burden of involuntary motherhood from the blessed, awe-inspiring gift of voluntary motherhood, but the idea that motherhood could be work — most aspects of motherhood, really — remains controversial.”
NPR (from yesterday’s “All Things Considered” broadcast)
“…a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for an abortion is about to increase to 72 hours. The law says a woman must be allowed to see an ultrasound and that the doctor must record any response. A doctor is also required to read a statement saying abortion causes an increased risk of suicide — a claim that abortion-rights groups say is not supported by medical evidence. The doctor must also tell patients that an abortion will ‘terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.’ It’s language that is designed to demean and degrade and shame a woman’ …”
The New Yorker
“So much changed with Roe v. Wade. American women have benefitted from safe, legal abortions some fifty million times in the forty years since the Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973. Many of them were married; a study, in 2008, found that more than sixty per cent were already mothers. By then, “choice” had also come to include the decision to have children as a single parent. Today, most of the women in this country were post-Roe v. Wade babies. They grew up knowing that the struggle was won. It couldn’t happen again. But it has.”