Roe v. Wade: Still Controversial After All These Years

The Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade just turned 40 years old, but the issue of whether a woman should have the right to choose abortion is far from settled. Even as the abortion rate has started to decline, the country seems polarized; in a September 2012 Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans identified themselves as pro-choice and 46 percent as pro-life, a statistical dead heat. The real surprise: Though each side is passionate about its position, research suggests that abortion is a subject on which some principled people come to  change their minds, often because of certain events in their lives. Here, the stories of 10 women who unexpectedly experienced that kind of shift. Regardless of the opinion each of us holds, these thoughts from “the other side” will be enlightening—and may even begin a conversation

by Melinda Dodd

I am one of six girls, all raised by our mom to be pro-life feminists. About eight years ago, I was engaged and accidentally got pregnant. I say “accidentally” because I was on birth control. But my fiancé and I were happy about the pregnancy. And then some things in our relationship changed for the worse. Fifteen weeks into the pregnancy, we broke up.

I faced life as a single mom and pondered giving the baby up for adoption. But I wanted him. Every day I said hello to my unborn child. I realized how strongly women’s bodies push the bonding. I also realized that I couldn’t ask other women to go through their body’s priming just to give their unwanted children away for adoption. The tie is too great. The hormones flooding you, the way your breasts become thick with milk, the way you change each week—all of that should be a wanted task. Children deserve mothers who choose them.

Two days before I gave birth to Lucian, I was driving with my mom and one of my sisters. We started talking about something on the news regarding abortion. I said something like, “Well, I wouldn’t want anybody to have a baby if she wasn’t ready.” They were floored. My sister said, “Cate, how can you say that? You have a baby in your belly!” And I was like, “I think that’s why can say that.” It was finally that moment that made me say, “I’m pro-choice now.”

Millennials: Unexpected Opinions

Americans ages 18 to 30 are the most socially liberal group in the country on matters such as gay marriage and legalized marijuana. But surprisingly, this generation is somewhat less liberal than the total U.S. population on allowing abortions in several specific ­situations. For instance, 68 percent of millennials support abortion in cases of serious fetal defects, compared with 74 percent of the pop­ulation as a whole, according to the 2010 General Social Survey. As part of what abortion expert Clyde Wilcox calls “the Juno generation” (after the 2007 hit film about a pregnant teenager), millennials are not quite as distressed about unplanned pregnancies as their parents may have been. And the mainstreaming of special-needs children in schools may make raising these kids seem like a not insuperable problem. Here, two millennials explain their attitudes.

PRO-LIFE  I cannot remember a time when I was anything but pro-life. My mom works in the movement, and has for most of my life. I'm the reason behind her activism: At 21, she was pro-choice junior at a Big Ten college and got pregnant. As she says in her lectures, she didn’t have a “compelling reason” for an abortion, and she decided against it when she found ways to get the support she needed. Reading books about fetal development during that time made her realize that life began at conception. After my younger sister was born, it also became a big civil rights issue for her. As I grew up and heard her story, I always identified with the babies in abortion situations. Now that I'm becoming an adult, I can see it from the pregnant woman's perspective.

Everybody who has taken high school biology can see that abortion is the taking of a life; that battle has been won. But why do we still think we need it? What is it that makes these women go looking for a way out? There’s a quote I remember my mom telling me, from writer Frederica Mathewes-Green: “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

Other people can focus on the legal or illegal nature of abortion. I want to help get rid of the trap. —Emily Winn, 19, freshman at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

What’s your reaction?

Comments


It surprises me that we are still talking about Roe X Wade.
But even more surprising to me is the fact that pro-life supporters fail to see life after pregnancy.
If a woman does not want a pregnancy, she probably won't want the baby and most likely won't want to raise the child.
It's an unfortunate fact that must be looked with deeper concern.
What is being done for this unwanted children, who are coming into our world everyday?
I would love to see pro-life supporters come up with a plan that addresses this mostly urgent need because if they defend the right to life in the uterus they should defend the right to a fair and loving upbring. It's unfair to allow children to be brought up by neglecting mothers/parents.
Soraya

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