Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a Supreme court decision that put a lot of much needed power in women’s hands. That power was the power to make the decision as to whether or not to have a baby that was conceived inadvertently. I think it is safe to assume that no one aborts a baby who was conceived consciously so I’ll stick with the word ‘inadvertent’ knowing that it might mean due to rape, due to failed birth control, due to miscalculation, or due to carelessness.
I fully support anyone’s right to be horrified at the very thought of abortion. I fully support anyone’s right to cry bitter tears at the lost babies. I fully support anyone’s moral indignation that a woman would terminate a pregnancy. I do not support your right to stop a woman from making that choice for herself, though.
We cannot pick and choose who gets to have an abortion and who doesn’t. You can’t legislate ‘in the event of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life’ for several reasons. First of all you can’t always define a rape. Is it rape if a long time boyfriend holds his girlfriend down and forces penetration while saying “I love you baby – I just can’t stop” and she lies there crying and terrified, unable to utter a “no” or a “stop – you’re violating me”. I think so but a court might not. Is it fair to say that a young girl who is impregnated forcibly by her perverted uncle has to have the baby? Is it fair to say that a woman on the way to her car in a shopping mall parking lot who is grabbed, thrown in a van, driven away and raped and then released has to have that baby? And who is to define ‘danger to the mother’s life?” Is giving birth to a rapists baby and then giving the baby up not without long term risk and danger to the mother’s health and well being? Who is to say?
The motions and cases that threaten to bring down Roe vs. Wade today generally decree abortion to be illegal – no exceptions. I believe we need to keep abortion legal without exception or reservation because it isn’t up to you or me or a judge to decide on the course of a woman’s life or how that pregnancy might impact her life. There is only one person who can make that decision and we need to maintain the right of women everywhere to manage their lives.