Roe v. Wade under threat of elimination
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:10
This may come as a shock to many of you, but here in the United States, receiving an abortion is legal. In fact, abortions have been legal for nearly four decades now, and if you don’t believe me, check in your history books for the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. The court’s 7-2 ruling should make it very clear to you that a woman has a constitutional right to privacy — and that includes terminating her pregnancy.
Whatever your personal stance may be toward abortion, we can all agree that it’s a personal and complex decision for any woman to make. Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith. It’s not a simple issue — and it’s especially not an issue where politicians should be getting involved.
That’s why I constantly find myself at odds with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. Here we have two upper-class, white males who continue to take stances that limit a woman’s access to a safe and legal abortion.
Let’s first take a look at Romney. The former governor of Massachusetts was actually once pro-choice. According to Politifact, he stated the following during a 1994 debate against Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy: “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. … I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, it should be sustained and supported. And I sustain and support that law and support the right of a woman to make that choice."
Makes sense to me. Too bad he changed his mind, and, as of June 2011, Romney has taken a staunch stance against a woman’s access to abortion and Planned Parenthood — the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care and comprehensive sexual education.
Believe it or not, his vice-presidential pick is even worse. During his years in Congress, Ryan has stood in support of numerous bills that target Americans and our reproductive rights. He was an advent supporter of the “Let Women Die" bill, which would have banned abortion coverage by insurers that received federal or taxpayer funding, even if the life of the woman needing the abortion was in danger. The Protect Life Act would grant hospitals far-reaching powers to deny women abortion care without any exception for emergency situations. This bill was not designed to protect lives; it was designed to let women die in their hospital beds.
All of this is very ironic, because both men and their Republican colleagues continue to campaign for small government while they implement big government policies. What makes the situation even more grave is the naivety of it all. Just because something is illegal does not mean that it will stop. We see this with underage alcohol consumption, drug usage and prostitution. These actions may be illegal in most states, but they continue to happen, unregulated and sometimes at dangerous rates.
The same concept applies to abortion. Women who are desperate to end a pregnancy will find a way to do so. Those with financial support will travel to places where abortion is legal. Others will be forced by politicians to go through with an unwanted or risky pregnancy, attempt to self-abort, or turn to an illegal — and potentially unsafe — provider. Our health, safety, privacy and equality as women will suffer.
The Romney/Ryan ticket is a dangerous one for women’s health. And when you fill out your ballot this November, I urge all of you to think about the women in your life, their safety and their rights. We need to continue to move this nation forward — without leaving anyone behind.