Happy anniversary, kinda

22 01 2012

It’s the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. There may not be many more.

The decision has been politically attacked, and has been honeycombed by any number of succeeding Supreme Court decisions, but as of today, it still stands.

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment‘s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment‘s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation. . . .

Although the results are divided, most of these courts have agreed that the right of privacy, however based, is broad enough to cover the abortion decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute, and is subject to some limitations; and that, at some point, the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant. We agree with this approach.

–Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority.

I am, as I’ve written numerous times previously, an abortion-rights militant, to the point of opposition to any state regulation of abortion beyond that regulating the safety of medical procedures generally.

Still, I consider Roe v. Wade a victory for the rights of women, and when it is overturned or so hollowed out that it effectively collapses—something which I think will happen, likely before its 50th anniversary—I will mourn its passing.

Today, however, I celebrate it.

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8 responses

22 01 2012
dmf

it’s stunning how quietly and largely without fuss we are turning back the clock on a woman’s right to choose, I assume that most who might care are just taking their hard one rights for granted and aren’t really aware of the losses but wtf is that about?

23 01 2012
absurdbeats

The moral ambivalence over abortion (status of fetus, status of women who have sex) leaves too many politically paralyzed.

The pro-life side is energized by their absolute certainty of the personhood of the embryo/fetus and their absolute unwillingness to consider the status of the woman—except, perhaps, as “victim of the abortion industry.”

23 01 2012
dmf

that would make sense, has anyone done any polling along these lines have the number of staunch supporters of choice dramatically dropped? My sense is that many coastal liberals have no idea what is happening below the biblebelt and out here in flyover country.

25 01 2012
absurdbeats

I don’t know that support for the legality of at least some abortions has changed, and I know pro-choice groups are out there yelling and raising money and filing lawsuits. Part of it is that these cases are making their ways through the courts, and partly it’s due to the takeover of state legislatures and governorships by those who’ve made chopping away at repro rights a priority.

I mean, hell, anti-contraception is now a live issue—and this was before the administration’s decision not to exempt religiously-run hospitals, etc., from rules regulating insurance coverage.

It all comes back to sex, specif., to women having sex, and it’s a helluva lot harder for legislators to stand up for women who have sex than it is to talk about babies and heartbeats—-tho’, to their credit, a number of righteous folk have tried. The “trust women” approach is perhaps the best way to blunt the sexual-women-must-pay under-theme, but, criminy, too many folk DON’T trust women.

3 02 2012
BJ

I know this is a serious subject…however…being the sardonic you are, I’m sure you can laugh at this;

http://onion.com/j6Lacy

BTW…my 9 year old (sheesh) believes a woman is in charge of her own body. Her parents don’t lecture or even talk about this, because, well, she’s 9. But, it came up in conversation, and she strongly gave her opinion. I quote;

“A woman should be able to choose if she wants to have a baby, or not. Why wouldn’t she?”

The wisdom of youth. Tears…OK, no, but almost.

7 02 2012
absurdbeats

Your nine-year-old believes she’s a person? Just what kind of pinko commune are you and your wife running over there?!

9 02 2012
BJ

Well, her mother is in the union, and her father used to know the lyrics to “Der Kommissar”. Maybe she is a communist…

9 02 2012
absurdbeats

Just as long as she’s not a Bolshevik: there are other, better, commies.

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