Roe v Wade is the 1973 landmark United States Supreme Court decision that ensures all women have the right to obtain legal and safe abortions. Tragically, it’s on the verge of becoming history.
When I first published “My Abortion Story,” Roe v Wade was already under siege. Mobilized right wing groups do whatever they can, sometimes violently, to make it hard for doctors to work and clinics to exist. They murder physicians, set up false clinics, heckle patients, and work to undo basic legal human rights.
Those same bible-thumpers protest governmental Covid-immunization efforts. If it were up to them, we’d be living Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel and TV series, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Start saving up your wire hangers?
Planned Parenthood outlines the current horror this way…
“… a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion confirms our worst fears: that the Supreme Court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. But as of today, abortion remains your constitutional right.”
In an earlier Happiness Between Tails post, “My Jury Duty Pt 1 + Infidel753 Works for Justice and Freedom to Choose,” guest blogger Infidel753 recounted his stint volunteering at an abortion clinic as a patient escort. Your comments to his story lent me the courage to tell mine.
So did reading KE Garland’s thoughts and experience on getting an abortion at her blog, which she allowed me to re-publish here.
Pioneering militant feminist Gloria Steinem, at 22 years old had an abortion in 1957, when it was illegal. Years later, she openly discussed it. She said…
”It [abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! I think the person who said: ‘Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament’ was right. Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn’t going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive… In later years, if I’m remembered at all, it will be for inventing a phrase like ‘reproductive freedom’ … as a phrase it includes the freedom to have children or not to. So it makes it possible for us to make a coalition.”
By the way, when it comes to transgender rights, she and Mona Sinha co-wrote a letter to The New York Times in 2020. They decried then-President Trump’s elimination of civil rights protections for transgender healthcare and said…
“The health of any of us affects the health of all of us, and excluding trans people endangers us all.”
Abortion: My Story by da-AL
In my mid-20s, I terminated two pregnancies. That same year, I got pregnant twice, each time using different forms of birth control. At the time, I’d been living with a boyfriend since I was 18. He was a sweet, intelligent man who I loved dearly.
We were surviving on sporadic work, earning hardly above minimum wage. For that and many more reasons, I didn’t feel I could provide any child with a decent upbringing.
Abortions were expensive, and weren’t covered by my job’s health insurance. Each procedure was a physical ordeal of pain and then high fevers. I had to take days off from work, which I could ill afford.
I had a kind lover to help me through. Never have I regretted my decisions.
Later, in my 30s, I was sexually assaulted. Good luck, if the term can apply to anything about rape, is the only reason I didn’t get pregnant.
When people seek control, they say others “need to be held accountable.”
Seeing the world as “them” versus “us” makes it easy to objectify one another. Not so long ago, United States medical officials conducted the infamous 40-year Tuskegee Study. They pretended to treat black people for syphilis when really they were studying the full progression of the disease. To their reasoning, white lives mattered and black lives didn’t. Sound familiar?
What if you’re very young and your family is the opposite of a Hallmark card? What if you’re not employed? Or your job doesn’t provide insurance and sick days? What if the rape was more than you could bear? And you don’t want the added burdens of facing the police, defending your reputation as well as your case, can’t afford a good lawyer, and don’t want to confront whoever assaulted you in court?
Or say you simply got pregnant at any age, and for whatever reason, just don’t want to go through a full pregnancy?
What if, what if, what if?…
It’s no one’s business why or how many times any woman has an abortion.
When statisticians tally how many people consider abortion acceptable, they sidestep the real issue. What matters is no government ought to be entitled to have say over women’s bodies.
No one should have a say over who is sterilized or who must bear children. End of story.
Is it still legal to get an abortion?
The answer in the United States is yes, due in good measure for Planned Parenthood’s work.
The organization offers a range of affordable health care to all genders, all ages, all over the world. Interestingly, in 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law funding for family planning services, which included Planned Parenthood.
According to Wikipedia, Nixon decreed…
“No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
Remember, it’s not enough to win rights — we must continually work to keep them. We can’t rest on our laurels.
For example, according to Wikipedia…
“Poland is one of the few countries in the world to largely outlaw abortion after decades of permissive legislation during Polish People’s Republic. About 10-15% of Polish women seek abortion in neighboring countries due to the strict restraints in their own country. Poland’s abortion law is one of the most restrictive in Europe, along with a group of other traditionally Roman Catholic countries of the region.”
Daunting news, yes — which is why we absolutely mustn’t succumb to burnout. Now more than ever we must be active in whatever way we can, big or small. Please share this post and podcast to your social media, tell lawmakers and whoever you know where you stand. Contribute time and/or money to organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Contribute to justice winning.
Infidel753’s blog offers a growing wealth of information. A recent post included abortion resources, tips to avoid criminal charges for abortion pills, a link to Valerie Tarico’s post on fighting for abortion rights inspired by a discussion at Nan’s Notebook.
It’s your body — how much control do you want lawmakers to have over it?