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Roe v. Wade Thirty-Nine Years Later

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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.

About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Zingzing

    clavos, you do know that federal funds can’t be used for abortions at pp, right? money is money either way, I suppose, but technically…

    Pp can pay for its abortion program, but it can’t hold the rest up without federal funding. 97% of the time, it’s doing other things, but many of those things don’t come with such a high price tag–they’re cheap when they want to be. abortions are expensive at pp (or at least have a price you can’t sneeze at), but many of their other services are free.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    My take on it is that women should have an absolute right to be free to decide whether they want to continue with a pregnancy or not for any reason, although there should be some kind of time limit beyond which it shouldn’t be allowed except in the most unusual of circumstances.

    That said, it should not be paid for by the state as whether to have a child or not is a lifestyle choice. The government shouldn’t be paying for either abortions or children.

    I guess that makes me a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

  • Clavos

    I guess that makes me a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

    And, surprisingly, puts us in agreement — at least for this issue, anyway.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I think we probably agree about a lot of things, Nails; most people do and then we can all get bent out of shape over the details.

    Social liberalism – or tolerance, to use a word that most socio-political control freaks avoid because it shows them up – and fiscal conservatism go together very naturally.

  • Reverend Hussein Hussein

    48-roger: good points!

  • Igor

    We, the US taxpayers, pay for corporate helicopters, corporate whores, corporate bribes, and all kinds of other corporate privilege, so why not pay for abortions for distressed women?

    Free and easily available abortions are key to women’s freedom.

  • Cannonshop

    Ideology always leaves huge ethical gaps. ON questions like Abortion, there’s so many complexities involved that the ONLY solution is to raise your own family to deal with the issue on a personal/internal level, whether that means a lassaiz-faire upbringing, or strict religious upbringing.

    the issue isn’t whether or not the foetus is a human, it’s whether it has rights to the resources of the mother-that’s not a place the State has any real grounds to judge when we lack the technology to make the point of live/die moot.

    The BEST we can manage, is to toss the spiritual ramifications and work to guarantee the survival and PHYSICAL health of the mother-whether she has the kid, or an abortion. The mental scars of the procedure are pretty well known, The conditions that drive it are also well known, but both are outside the range of where Government has a legitimate interest.

    Frankly, further, until the kid IS born, the father has no rights, and that’s the right thing there-it’s not his body, barring a means of MAKING his body carry the unborn, he only has responsibilities before the birth, he got his say when he stuck it in her-that’s where his privelages end prior to birth…but not his responsibility.

    Sadly, where Unplanned pregnancies happen that result in Abortion, there’s not much owning up of responsibilies on the part of ‘dad’, and the state really can’t do anything (legitimately) about shifting those. I suppose if the “Father” is identifiable he should probably be held financially liable for the outcome, whether it winds up being born, or in a plastic Hazmat bucket, but that’s asking a lot of someone who couldn’t be bothered to wear a rubber.

    On the whole, Roe vs. Wade was, by today’s standards, a pretty mild ruling-it’s good law, it stabilized things nationwide and set baseline standards, which is what a Supreme Court ruling SHOULD do, in situations where the nanny-god-statists won’t leave well enough alone.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop -

    If you feel, then, that Roe is “good law”, you do realize of course that any of the current crop of GOP candidates supports the overturn of Roe and would load the Supreme Court in just such a way to make that happen. Would that be enough for you to reconsider voting for any of them in the general election?

  • Cannonshop

    #58 Glenn, there was a HELL of a lot more traction to getting Roe overturned twenty years ago-note that it is still in place.

    In terms of how I vote, generally I steer AWAY from the Abortion argument (it’s not actually rational or dignified enough to really be a debate), because it’s mostly a red-herring used by god-botherers (on the right) and freakshow Leftists to divide people and distract them from other, more pressing concerns that impact EVERYONE, rather than a small but shifting demographic.

    I’m generally more concerned about issues regarding fiscal policy, a candidate’s record on liberty issues, (or lack thereof), and economic issues-Things that, for the major part, can be addressed rationally regardless of one’s gender.

    Abortion is not something that can be addressed rationally by men, It’s a women’s issue and any man who says otherwise is putting on airs. (AND maybe his wife’s underwear when she’s out…)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Exactly, my man. Why should we males weigh in on this debate as strongly as we do is still beyond me. Must be the shadow of the past when we still considered women our private property or chattel.

  • Cannonshop

    #60 Maybe, Roger, or it could just be that it IS a life-or-death question, but not one that permits easy answers that can be applied evenly and fairly across ALL people.

    People get loudest over the things they can’t really control, where the consequences of bad thinking won’t perceptibly impact them. It’s very hard to divorce yourself from wanting to be heard on something you damn well KNOW is important-even if you have nothing of value to contribute-which is what Abortion IS. It’s significant, it’s important, it’s life-or-death…and there’s really nothing a man can say about it worth hearing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s called vicarious living.