Monday, January 24, 2005

A woman's right to choose...

In 1970, Norma McCorvey, a pregnant woman from Dallas, Texas, first challenged the constitutionality of a Texas abortion law. Using the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” McCorvey sued Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade to be allowed to have an abortion. The Texas law banned abortions in that state, except when the pregnancy threatened the life of the pregnant woman. Roe’s pregnancy did not threaten her life, but as a poor, single woman she did not want to bear a child she could not afford to raise. In addition, she did not have the money to travel to a state where abortions were legal. Roe and her attorneys asked the federal district court to declare that the Texas abortion statute violated her rights under the Constitution of the United States. They also asked the court to enjoin (forbid) the district attorney from prosecuting anyone else under the Texas abortion law in the future.

A three-judge panel in Texas ruled in favor of Roe, mostly on the grounds that the law violated her constitutional rights to privacy. The court ruled that the 9th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed privacy rights that were broad enough to protect a woman’s choice to have an abortion. However, because the district court refused to enjoin future prosecutions for abortion, Roe and her attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wade also appealed the decision.

The Supreme Court heard arguments for Roe v. Wade in December 1971. After a Court ordered second round of arguments, in January 1973 the Court decided 7-2 in favor of Roe.

Last week, Norma McCorvey announced that she was formally asking the U.S Supreme Court to take her case and to reverse Roe Vs. Wade, or at least, order a trial on the merits. On January 18, 2005 a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the Justice Foundation, reached the Supreme Court to hear the case.

It’s very unfortunate that Ms. McCorvey is trying to reverse a decision that has been pivotal in the women’s rights movement. She who was a role model (even if for selfish reasons) for women everywhere, has become someone that by her change of attitude and lack of faith has become someone anti-women. I fear that the reversal of such an important decision as is Roe Vs. Wade can bring us back even further than we were in 1970.

I am not going to say that I am someone who is pro-abortion, because I am not. I am, however, pro-choice and I believe in my right to choose weather I am ready, willing and/or able to be a mother. Nobody should dictate what my life should be like if I was raped, if I was sick, if I was broke or if I just flat out made a mistake. Besides, since when is a potential person more important than a real, already living person?

The world is a strange place. It really is. And you never know what could happen. To allow other people to make a decision for you, as if every situation is the same is completely ridiculous. It is hard to be a woman, and it must be even harder to be a woman in the position of having to make that kind of choice. We don’t need someone to dictate what it is that we need to do.

The way I look at it, abortion saves lives because someone who is desperate enough to seek an abortion will stop at nothing to get it, and if there are no laws to regulate those procedures, women are going to be exposed to dangerous practices that could potentially lead to not only an aborted fetus, but to death.

I have never had an abortion, and I hope that I’m never in the position that I need to make that choice; but I also hope that if I have to make that kind of decision (in the United States, and I’m too broke to be able to get anywhere else) that I won’t have to go to a dirty apartment in some abandoned building so some guy with a hanger can solve my problem because some Republican (they are always republicans!) decided that I was not allowed to choose.

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