Roe v. Wade – 41st Anniversary

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. I would have expected much more from us as a nation and people 41 years later. Rather than increasing access to reproductive health services, there are more legislative restrictions since the 1973 decision. Guttmacher posted an image (see below) recently that captures this and you can read more about it here: More state abortion restrictions enacted in 2011–2013 than in entire previous decade. In a blog post on Fox News’s website today, Congresswoman Diane Black rancorously laments the anniversary that pro-choicers applaud, “By shedding light on the true nature of the abortion industry in our country and the harm and dangers to women, we can continue to push public opinion in favor of protecting human life.” There isn’t an abortion industry and that is clear if you watch the award winning 2013 documentary, After Tiller. In fact, the documentary and Guttmacher’s image describes that abortion providers are few and very far to reach today. It is frustrating to read Congresswoman Black’s argument against abortion by using the case of Dr. Kermitt Gosnell to demonstrate how unsafe obtaining an abortion is. Abortion is safe. However, abortion is expensive and it’s cost can range from $250 to $20,000 depending upon how far along a woman is in her pregnancy.

Studies have illustrated that children born as the result of an unplanned pregnancy are at greater risk of low birth weight and pre-term birth, both of which increase the likelihood of infant mortality; mothers and fathers are at greater risk to suffer from depression and relationship conflict; and children have lower cognitive scores in early childhood (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2008; The Indiana Youth Institute, 2011). In 1995, an analysis of cost data from managed care plans of large employers in 45 metropolitan areas found that 15 methods of contraception were cost effective when compared to the direct medical cost of unplanned pregnancies, with savings ranging from $9,000 to $14,000 over a five-period (Guttmacher Institute, 2012). So, when Congresswoman Black states, “By shedding light on the true nature of the abortion industry in our country and the harm and dangers to women, we can continue to push public opinion in favor of protecting human life,” she has limited her polemic. The true experience of the abortion can only be described by the women who experience it, which is 1 in 10 women by age 20, 1 in 4 by age 30, and 3 in 10 by age 45 (see the New York Times Magazine article: My Abortion). Sara Alcid succinctly wrote in a blog posted in everyday feminism today, “The truth is that although abortion is now legal, meaningful access is still not a reality for many women simply looking to make the best decision for their unique life circumstances” (Roe v. Wade at 40 Years: Let’s Make Access to Abortion Meaningful for All Women).

And last, but certainly not least, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, stated today, “we recommit ourselves to the (Roe v. Wade) decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams” (Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary).

Join us today on the steps of the Supreme Court at 5 pm to honor the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision

Listen to Diane Rehm’s segment that highlights the Roe v. Wade anniversary, which includes panelists from both sides of the argument: Access To Abortion 41 Years After Roe V. Wade