Saturday, January 22, 2011

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Choice remains the issue

Thirty-eight years after the landmark Supreme Court decision that "legalized abortion," emotions still run high over the "A Word" and the stage is being set for a new set of justices to hear the issue again in a new millennium.

If we put emotions aside, Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose. It did not bring about "abortion on demand," as some predicted at the time. It made a legal option available and made the decision to choose a private one among a woman, her conscience and her doctor.

I feel the term "pro-life" skews that element of choice and further charges the issue emotionally. Wouldn't the opposite of "pro-life would be "pro-death?"

If someone is "pro-choice," it does not automatically mean that she advocates abortion, or would choose abortion for herself. She also has the right not to choose to have an abortion. The point is, she has the right to choose.

What pro-choice does mean is support for reproductive rights as a collective concept. If the right to choose is relinquished, it opens the way for further regulation of women's bodies by a patriarchal government.

I was pleased that President Obama said, "Government should not intrude on private family matters."

He also said he also remains committed "to policies, initiatives and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption."

In other words, reproductive rights as a collective concept.

On the other side, Republican House Speaker John Boehner called Roe v. Wade a" tragic" decision that "tore asunder a right to life our Founding Fathers described so indelibly in our Declaration of Independence."

He went on to say, “The new House majority has listened to the people and pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion. A ban is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land.”

And here we go.

The National Organization for Women (NOW,) Oakland County chapter is hosting events that coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The Oakland Chapter is hosting a Peace, Love, Equality "Fun" Raiser next Saturday, Jan. 29 at Kim Bebee's House in Ferndale from 6-11:30 p.m. Contact Michigan NOW for details.

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