Sunday, January 23, 2011
I'm Blogging for Choice in Honor of Roe's Anniversary
As part of its annual Blogging for Choice Day, NARAL Pro-Choice America asks: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
I am very concerned about the right to choose abortion in 2011. The front page of the New York Times yesterday detailed the wide variety of restrictions conservative legislators are contemplating to make abortion harder for women to get. The punitive nature of these proposals reflects conservatives' desire to make abortion as expensive, burdensome, and emotionally fraught as possible. This attitude reminds me of me a comment Justice White made in the second oral argument in Roe v. Wade. Contemplating a scenario in which a woman's life was endangered by a pregnancy, he questioned the Texas Assistant Attorney General's defense of a life exception in Texas's abortion ban. Justice White suggested that the woman was "guilty," asking, "Would you choose to kill the innocent one or what?" It's sadly evident that, for many, this attitude is still prevalent, nearly four decades after Roe was decided.
No matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise, the need for abortion will never, ever go away. There will always be failures of contraception, pregnancies that go tragically awry, pregnancies resulting from rape, financial disaster and other unexpected personal circumstances. The chilling case of the Philadelphia doctor, indicted for murder in connection with his provision of abortions under horrendously unsafe circumstances, should remind us of what it was like when abortion was not constitutionally protected. Today, thanks to Roe v. Wade, that case is an aberration. No one should want to send us back to a time when it would have been commonplace.