This week marks a very special anniversary. It is not one that pertains to a specific couple, but it most certainly does to society as a whole. Thirty-nine years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision that women had the freedom to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to full term. Since that time, an endless stream of controversy has swiftly flowed through America’s political arena and does not seem likely to stop at any point in the near future.
We each have our own opinions about the ethics and legality of women’s reproductive rights. Anyone who reads my column on a regular basis surely knows that I am a staunch supporter of said rights. As a male, I could not imagine telling a woman what she should do in a matter so monumental as pregnancy. This is a result of the very simple fact that I will never walk even a millisecond in her shoes. What business of mine is it what she does with her own body?
From a bioethical standpoint, I find it almost impossible to see how one could possibly define an embryo or pre-viability fetus as a full-fledged, objectively living human being. Keeping this in mind, how is it then appropriate to ask any woman fundamentally to alter the course of her life, an actuality, for the sake of a potential? I fully understand that for many, religion comes into play here, but we have no right to impose our views on others. Like reproductive rights, religion is a deeply personal matter best not thrown in peoples’ faces.
As public opinion regarding pregnancy cessation in the United States is spilt almost evenly, I know there’s an equal chance those reading this will agree or disagree with me. Whatever the case, I would only ask that we respect one another’s opinions adequately. Incendiary rhetoric is shamelessly thrown around by the political left and right alike, and this never fails to obfuscate reality. In the reproductive rights debate, this is one thing seldom mentioned, and our nation’s dialogue pays the price in dividends.