Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roe v. Wade

I was 17 when Roe v. Wade was passed on January 22, 1973.

I was a senior in high school and had just become engaged on my birthday less than a month later when I knew the worst had happened. I was pregnant. I had to decide whether or not to keep the child I was carrying and fear was definitely a factor. I didn't have the money, so I kept the child.

Meanwhile, my best friend also got pregnant at about the same time. Her parents paid for an abortion while my parents allowed me to use my savings to pay for my wedding.

Roe v. Wade changed a lot of lives, and not always in a good way, but it hasn't been because of the decision to make abortion available. It has been because people do not understand what exactly Roe v. Wade means to women and what it is at its heart all about. Roe v. Wade is about upholding the right of choice, the choice to keep or terminate a pregnancy. It is a personal choice and one that no government, Supreme Court, church or individual has a right to contravene.

I've heard all the arguments for and against, and participated in more than one debate on this issue, but people still do not get it, especially not the people who bomb clinics where doctors perform abortions, kill doctors and nurses and even the mothers carrying unborn children, or people at the clinics for other reasons. These extremists are so certain of their right to end another's life to save an unborn fetus that they will destroy anyone who gets in their way. How is this respectful of life?

I will not get into the argument about when life begins; it is the equivalent of determining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. When did people who were born and have lived less valuable and less worthy of life than a fetus that may or may not come to full term if not aborted? Where is the logic in that?

Women have for centuries aborted unwanted children and it has been no one's business but their own. Women who could not afford a child or carried a child of rape, incest or of a diseased sire went to a midwife or wise woman and aborted the fetus. There are many reasons for doing so, but it is no one's business but the woman carrying the child.

Adoption has not always been available and was made popular during the 1930s and 1940s when Georgia Tann made it popular to Hollywood actors and the wealthy and famous, often taking children from their parents by force and through deceit to make the adoptions possible. Today, adoption is much more accepted than it was before Georgia Tann's day and has provided a means to give homes to unwanted children from Russia, Eastern Europe, China and other countries where female children are often warehoused or killed outright, males being more valuable. But adoption is not the answer for everyone, and it still comes down to choice. Couples or singles unable to have their own children, for whatever reason, choose to adopt. That does not mean that women who wish to abort their children should be forced to carry a fetus to full term and give birth just to satisfy some religious belief that all life is sacred, except when that life is involved in offering and maintaining a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body and her own life.

I have a son because I could not afford an abortion and I'm not sure whether or not I would have been able to go through with an abortion; however, other than not being able to afford an abortion, I had a choice because Roe v. Wade made upheld my right to choose. My best friend had an abortion and she says she regrets it; maybe she does, but she had a choice.

It all comes down to choice in this as in every other aspect of life. We choose to steal or not to steal, murder or not to murder, but no one stops us from making the choice. There are always consequences, but first there is a choice. If you want to use a religious point, according to Christian beliefs, and the beliefs of many other religions, we are all born with Free Will -- the right to choose. What we do with that Free Will is up to us and as a god-given right, no man has the right to take it away. Men try all the time because, in their ignorance and pride, they believe they have the right to herd us like cattle or deny us like children unable or unintelligent enough to use our Free Will wisely. They do not have the right. We as individuals have the right to exercise our Free Will in whichever way we choose. No government, Supreme Court, man, church or individual has the right to take away anyone's Free Will, their choice. No one can live another man's -- or woman's -- life.

If I have cancer and choose not to go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy or surgery, do you have the right to force me to do what you would do in my place? If choose to have chemotherapy or radiation or surgery and it will endanger my life, do you have the right to choose differently for me? I could name a thousand different scenarios and come up with more when I'm done, but it all comes down to choice. My choice. Your choice. A woman's choice to decide what to do with her own body. From the beginning of time, women have chosen whether or not to bear or not to bear children. This time is no different just because we know more about the process and feel we know what is right or better for someone than they do for themselves. How much simpler and better life would be if I make my own choices and you make yours.

Let's make a pact. I won't deny you your right to choose the path your life will take and you do not deny me mine. It's a simple pact and one that works as long as everyone lets everyone else live their own lives.As for me, I have enough to do dealing with my own choices without making choices for everyone else.

That is all. Disperse.

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