35 Years later, Roe v Wade still stands

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe V. Wade. And even though the Court decided in favor of protecting a woman’s right to choose, we are still fighting to keep the decision upheld. With the appointment of two new Supreme Court Justices and the imminent retirement of three or more current judges (John Paul Stevens is 87, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74, Stephen Breyer is 69, David Souter is 68) the next President will have tremendous power over this decision through the appointment of new Judges.

Things have not changed much about the Country’s attitude about abortion and the abortion rate is lower than it has been in years.

Public opinion on abortion has remained remarkably stable over the years. A CNN/Opinion Research survey in October found 36 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances, 40 percent believe it should be available in a few circumstances, such as to save the mother’s life, and 22 percent say abortion should never be legal. That is almost unchanged in the past 15 years.

The Roe decision did not prompt “abortion on demand,” as many opponents of the procedure predicted it would. Nor have various legislatures or court rulings restricted access as much as some supporters claim.

New research from the Alan Guttmacher Institute found the rate of abortions is at its lowest level since Roe, and the total number is also in decline, about 1.2 million in the year 2005, down 25 percent since the all-time high in 1990.

For the Supreme Court justices, Roe reflected earlier cases involving the right to privacy. That “right,” wrote Justice Harry Blackmun in the main opinion for the court, is “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

CNN

We cannot take this right for granted, all you have to do is Google Roe V. Wade under news and many of the articles are about repealing the law and protecting the life of the fetus. The fight is not over and we need to remember that our vote has a tremendous influence, all the Democratic Presidential Candidates support abortion rights and in turn we have to support the eventual nominee if we want to continue to have the freedom to choose.

Even without a majority on the court, abortion foes have been chipping away at Roe one law at a time, and they have made alarming headway, culminating in a high court decision last April that for the first time since 1973 upheld a ban on a procedure — controversial “partial-birth” abortions.

A return to the days when states were free to ban abortion would be disastrous and deadly. A recent review of U.S. abortion statistics backs up what pro-choice activists have long asserted: Those most likely to get an abortion tend to be those least able to afford to travel to another state to get one. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty line is almost four times higher than that among more affluent women. Statewide bans would lead to back-alley procedures by desperate women, who would die needlessly because politicians shut down clean and safe clinics.

LA Times

I think it’s very important to vocally show your support for abortion rights if you believe they are indeed a right. We cannot take this right for granted.

Below are the statements released by John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich (I couldn’t find anyting on his site and in the news, I will post something as soon as he raleases a statement) On The 35th Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – John Edwards released the following statement on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

“Roe v. Wade was an important step on the road to full equality, opportunity and dignity for women. On the 35th anniversary, it is important to reflect how far we’ve come as a nation, but more importantly how far we still have to go.

“I strongly support a woman’s right to privacy and reproductive choices. That right has been under attack though — by President Bush and his anti-choice agenda and by the Supreme Court, which has been moving the right-wing’s agenda faster than we’ve seen in decades. The hard right turn of the Supreme Court is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake – starting with a woman’s right to choose.

“As President, I will guarantee the right to choose and ensure that women can make choices in their lives with dignity and can participate in our society fully, as equals.”

John Edwards for President

Senator Obama on the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade decision
By Sam Graham-Felsen – Jan 22nd, 2008 at 11:17 am EST

Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it’s never been more important to protect a woman’s right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women’s health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.

Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.
Moreover, I believe in and have supported common-sense solutions like increasing access to affordable birth control to help prevent unintended pregnancies. In the Illinois state Senate, when Congress failed to require insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, I made sure those contraceptives were covered for women in Illinois. In the U.S. Senate, I’ve worked with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on a bill that would make birth control more affordable for low-income and college women, and introduced the Senate version of Representative Hilda Solis’ bill to reduce unintended pregnancies in communities of color. As President, I will improve access to affordable health care and work to ensure that our teens are getting the information and services they need to stay safe and healthy.
But we also know that Roe v. Wade is about more than a woman’s right to choose; it’s about equality. It’s about whether our daughters are going to have the same opportunities as our sons. And so to truly honor that decision, we need to update the social contract so that women can free themselves, and their children, from violent relationships; so that a mom can stay home with a sick child without getting a pink slip; so that she can go to work knowing that there’s affordable, quality childcare for her children; and so that the American dream is within reach for every family in this country. This anniversary reminds us that it’s not enough to protect the gains of the past – we have to build a future that’s filled with hope and possibility for all Americans.

Barack Obama for President

On Anniversary Of Roe, Clinton Announces Agenda For Reproductive Health Care

The Clinton campaign today reinforced its commitment to protect a woman’s right to make the most fundamental decisions about her life and health and announced a comprehensive agenda for women’s reducing unintended pregnancy and enhancing access to reproductive health care. The announcement comes on the 35th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and follows the news of the endorsement of WCLA – Choice Matters, one of the oldest pro-choice advocacy organizations in the nation.

“When I’m President, I will appoint judges to our courts who understand that Roe v. Wade isn’t just binding legal precedent, it is the touchstone of our reproductive freedom, the embodiment of our most fundamental rights, and no one – no judge, no governor, no Senator, no President – has the right to take it away.”

The agenda includes preventing unintended pregnancies by increasing access to honest, accurate sex education, contraception and family planning services, ensuring that private health plans offer the same level of coverage for contraception as they do for other prescription drugs and services, ensuring that women who survive sexual assault have access to emergency contraception upon request. Clinton also calls for providing greater access to reproductive health care services overseas.

“On the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am reaffirming my commitment to safe, legal, and rare abortion, and unveiling an agenda for decreasing the number of unintended pregnancies in the U.S. through honest and complete sex education and expanded access to contraception and family planning,” said Clinton.

WCLA joins other prominent pro-choice organizations endorsing Hillary Clinton for President, including the National Organization for Women PAC, EMILY’s List, Women’s Campaign Forum, National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Political Committee.

Hillary Clinton for President

Heather Pritchard

I'm new to political blogging but have been writing most of my life about different things. I campaigned for President Clinton when he was just Governor Clinton in Orange County. I graduated from Smith College with a BA in English and a minor in Film. I work full time, have a lovely four year old daughter named Charlotte, my husband teaches full time at Cerritos College in Norwalk in the Music Department. Gary has a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology from UCI. I hope to go back to school in some form or another, maybe sociology or economics. I've even thought of Law school. Our newest edition to the household is our Weimaraner Sophie. 

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  13 comments for “35 Years later, Roe v Wade still stands

  1. The Captain
    January 22, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I invite you all to read Mother Theresa’s words on abortion (as taken from OC Blog). All peace activists would be well served to fight to end the war against unborn children.

    “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters”

    “And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.”

    ——–

    “But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. ”

    ——–

    “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

    — Mother Theresa

  2. January 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    The Captain – As much as I know you mean well, I do not feel that Mother Teresa’s words are an argument to end a womans choice. It’s a choice and I feel strongly about this, even as someone who does not think abortion is right, it’s not my body and it’s not my decision. I am tired of hearing about this war on the child when so many don’t adopt children who were born in poverty rather than aborted, or why Christians spend thousands of dollars to conceive a biological child rather than adopting.
    I could go on for quite some time about this issue. But I want to be clear, many of the people I know who are pro-choice are not “pro-abortion”. They would much rather end the need for such a practice, but again, it’s not up to us, it’s up to the individual faced with the difficult situation.

    Mother Teresa’s legacy is mixed and I know that she is seen in a certain light by many, but I do not think her allowing so many children to die in her “hospitals” was the right thing to do. There were many who could have received very simple medical attention and actually saved their lives.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/hitchens_16_4.html

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    January 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Overturning Rose V Wade will not stop abortion; it will move into the back allies again as it did in the 1950s and 1960s. Women will die.

    The very people who are antichoice are usually against sex education in the schools, against providing sexually active teens and adults with adequate birth control technology, and are pro-abstinance, which doesn’t stop kids from having sex.

  4. The Captain
    January 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    There is no difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion. It’s one of the few black and white issues that there is.

    But, if it makes you feel better about condoning murder…so be it.

    I’ll close with the best line of Mother Theresa’s quote above: Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.

    One more thing: It is important to point out that even though Mother Theresa is obviously a religious figure, no where in her quotes does she mention God or religion. While I may be a Republican, I am not a Christian but abortion is not a religious issue. It is a human issue.

  5. January 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Here’s the issue: before there’s an abortion there must first be an unwanted pregnancy.

    Clearly, the way to end (or dramatically reduce) abortions is to eliminate unwanted pregnancies.

    Why are there so many unwanted pregnancies? Mostly because people don’t understand contraception, or they don’t like the types of contraception available to them, or their method of contraception fails, or they don’t have easy access to affordable contraception.

    We need to stop unwanted pregnancies 1) by providing better sex education in schools (tell kids about something other than abstinence!), 2) by developing better methods of contraception for both genders, and 3) by coming up with ways sexually active people can easily access methods of contraception that are reliable, safe, easy to use, and inexpensive.

    The number one method of contraception in this country is surgical sterilization. People use that because it’s reliable, reasonably safe, and (for most people) without side effects. Unfortunately it’s only suitable for those who are “finished” having children.

    I think abortion is wrong in nearly all cases (the exception for me is to preserve the mother’s life and health). I agree that abortion is infanticide. I cringe when I hear the words “a woman’s right to choose.” But I think those who seek to ban abortion and teach only abstinence have their heads up their a$$e$.

    Abortions will always be performed, even if Roe v Wade is overturned. But abortions can be minimized if we, as a society, take REAL, meaningful steps to minimize unwanted pregnancies.

  6. January 22, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I think abortion is wrong in nearly all cases (the exception for me is to preserve the mother’s life and health). I agree that abortion is infanticide. I cringe when I hear the words “a woman’s right to choose.” But I think those who seek to ban abortion and teach only abstinence have their heads up their a$$e$.

    I agree Gila, thank you for the thoughtful post.

    ————————————-
    I’ll close with the best line of Mother Theresa’s quote above: Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.

    Captain – We live in a country where 47 million people have no health care, we live in a country where 37 million go to sleep hungry and we live in a country where we’ve waged war for nothing more than oil and profit. Making abortion illegal will not stop the killing and until we deal with the mixed messages our children get by the commercialization of sex and the objectification of their bodies, we will be dealing with this for a long time to come. It’s a cultural issue and it’s an education issue.

    I also believe the death penalty is morally wrong and yet this President has personally overseen the death of many humanbeings. The hypocrisy is heartbreaking to me.

    I suggest you read an amazing book by John Irving called “The Cider House Rules”. It helped me with understanding the hard decisions that should only be left up to one person, the mother.

    For me it’s this. As long as a fetus is unable to live outside of the mothers’ womb it is essentially a part of her body. I would love to see the day where zero abortions are performed in this Country, but I also fear the day where young women are forced to go to back alleys because of fear and shame and we wind up losing two lives.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    January 22, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Gila —
    You are 100% right of course. I’m 46; My wife and I are done having kids, so I took responsibility for this about 6 years ago and had the big snip done.

    My priest told me I was committing a mortal sin by eliminating the possibility of life. But I’m really not about to take marriage advice from someone who can never know what its like to be married, and I had it done.

    Abstinance education and chastity pledges don’t work; recently studies show kids who do are just as likely to get pregnant as those who dont and are more likely to engage in more risky behavior (use your imagination).

    Capitain (Adam) – I disagree with your perception on Pro-Choice vs Pro-Abortion. Most who are pro-choice find abortion abhorent, but it is the right of the mother to chose her course of action. When you consider that as many as 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, I’m not aware of any formal religious rite to address these “lost children”

  8. Andrew Davey
    January 22, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Captain-

    You know there’s a HUGE difference b/w “pro-abortion” and pro-choice. I don’t think ANY of us here is “pro-abortion” in that we want so many pregancies terminated. I think all of us who are pro-choice acknowledge that this decision is one for a woman to make regarding her own body.

    Honestly, I have to agree with Bill & Hillary Clinton when they say that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”. We do NOT solve this problem by forcing women to do something that they may not be able to do. Rather, we solve this problem through better sex ed in our schools, easier access to contraception, and better health care for these women.

    Until I see more “pro-life” folks actually give a damn about human life and work to actually make abortion rarer, than I’m not buying their BS about making government make decisions about women’s lives.

  9. Whatever!
    January 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    It is difficult for me to accept Captain’s argument when, A) he is probably a guy and has no idea what it is like to be a woman faced with unwanted pregnancy, or B) a Catholic that condoned the raping of little boys and girls by priests for decades. As a Protestant, birth control is allowed in my church. My mother was raped and beaten by my father and then left her with three kids and a baby on the way. She could have aborted my sister, but choose to have her. We were dirt poor for years with no help from our church because they looked down on my mother for my “father” leaving her. Where was the church? That’s right. Just like the Catholics, no where to be found. No offense Dan, but these anti-choice dim-wits are not pro-life – they are pro-birth. They don’t give a damn what happens after the baby is born. No offers of child-care, no laws to combat dead-beat dads, no job training programs, no nothing.

    My mother worked under the table with two jobs to feed the four of us in a roach-infested two-bedroom apartment for more than a decade while my father lived the high life without paying us a dime or facing his responsibility. (He even claimed us on his income taxes. What a great dad!) So Captain, please prove to me what a “man” you really are! As far as I am concerned, your religious self-rightous crap means nothing. Walk a mile in the life of a single mother and then maybe you can judge all women. Until then, why don’t you tithe a little more money toward the settlement of those poor, sexually abused children you allowed for so long. One can only imagine the ‘life” they have thanks to people like you!

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    January 22, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Captain — should abortion be made illegal and Roe V Wade overturned, what is the punishment facing a woman who has an illegal abortion?

    You might want to see this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Uk6t_tdOkwo

  11. January 22, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    As the pictures portray…Who decides? AND, Captain, how much jail time for a woman who decides to have an abortion????

  12. The Captain
    January 23, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Whatever!: You say “She could have aborted my sister, but choose to have her.”.
    Can you imagine life without your sister. Was it worth the difficult and sacrafice to have her with you today or would your life be better if things were easier, but you had no sister?

    Few people would wish their sibling did not exist and I think you helped make the point against abortion.

    You are a correct in assuming that I’m a male but incorrect that I’m Catholic (or even Protestant for that matter). Believe it or not, I consider myself an atheist. I think people who need the reward/threat of heaven/hell to live a good life are weak. We should live a good life simply because it is the right thing to do even if there is no afterlife. Unfortunately, many atheists use the excuse of no afterlife to lead a life of debauchery. I guess this is why I generally get along well with Christians even if I’m not one of them.

    Dan: An appropriate punishment for abortion is not to punish the mother but to punish the “doer.” I think it would be appropriate for any person performing an abortion to lose his/her medical license. Doctors take an oath to do no harm. Performing abortions clearly violates that oath. Any non doctor performing abortions should be punished the same as someone who is practicing medicine without a license.

    Andrew: There is a difference between pro-choice and pro-abort. I’m sorry you don’t see it.

    Gila: I agree with you and I don’t think it is fair to assume that all opponents of abortion want to ban abortion and teach only abistence. Sure, there are a few religious nutcases who think this way, but I’m not one of them.

  13. January 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    What so many pro-life people lose sight of is that pro-choice does not equal forced or required abortions. Apart from that, i do not think men – including fathers – have an equal say in the matter. If you don’t play the game, you don’t get to make up the rules. So that goes for the Catholic Church, also.

    This election is perhaps the most crucial one for protecting a woman’s inherent right to determine her destiny. We must elect more people to federal offices who will protect that right. It is a right not to be awarded or denied by persons of the male persuasion.

    Unlike some others, I trust people to make appropriate decisions regarding themselves. That is, after all, one of the basic precepts of limited government..

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