Roe v. Wade: Celebrating 40 Years

22 Jan

roe40thstampOn January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that women in this country could legally govern their own bodies with the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.  Sadly, 40 years later, we are witnessing a vicious attack on women’s health with people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch and their ilk working to take full control over women’s bodies.

Another concrete example of recent monstrous misogyny is Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi. His stated goal is to shut down the last clinic in the state that provides safe and legal abortions. On Thursday, Bryant said:

My goal, of course, is to shut it down. Now, we’ll follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now, related to the physicians and their association with a hospital. But, certainly, if I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow.

Here we see some serious white male privilege at work. Bryant and all of the anti-choice folk seem far more interested in protecting the fetus while demonstrating complete disdain once the child is born.  Furthermore, we have a serious class issue at hand.  For women of financial resources, the law becomes immaterial, for they can travel someplace to have a safe and legal abortion.  What about women without resources? Why do Bryant and his ilk get to decide what is best for women in our country? Those who are anti-choice should be free to live their own lives according to their beliefs; they do not, however, possess the right to impose their beliefs on others through abusive practices.

The power of the courts to clarify rights and interpret law is vital. We should celebrate significant decisions like Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education. But we live in a participatory democracy and must remain vigilant. On many issues there will be disagreements and those who feel their views should triumph over established rights. As we take time to celebrate great decisions, we must also strive to ensure that the fruits of those decisions remain available to all Americans, regardless of class, location, race, or any other factor.

24 Responses to “Roe v. Wade: Celebrating 40 Years”

  1. webwordwarrior January 22, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    Thank you for celebrating this landmark decision, Michael. With the Supreme Court poised to look at marriage equality, your sober refelction on their role and power is nicely timed too.
    Did you see the latest poll on abortion rights? Only 9% blindly oppose abortion; a solid majority support it in most circumstances; a full 70% oppose overturning Roe regardless of their stand. That is an all-time high and is attributable to backlash against the GOP comments.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      Thank you for the link! I am hoping we are entering a new age and that several Supreme Court Justices and their ilk will soon be relegated to the Paleozoic time they came from. Of course, I have throw in the constipated Eric Cantor in with this group after seeing his grimace during the inauguration yesterday.

  2. susan carlton January 22, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Thank you for your strong, clear, eloquent voice on this (and other essential) matters — so important and so appreciated!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you for all you do to help protect women’s rights and women’s health. Thank you also for your brilliant book, Love and Haight!

  3. Jennifer Carey January 22, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Sadly Texas is one of those states that is trying to legislate and regular abortion out of existence – well, legal and safe abortions. You can go to back alleys with coat hangers or throw yourself down the stairs. Perry States:
    “We … need to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, the unborn..” of course ignoring the fact that TX has the highest rates of children in poverty and without access to healthcare. He uses bad science to attempt to control women’s reproductive rights. Why is it that this party of “Limited government” seems to believe that government should regular women’s body, reproduction, and go into people’s bedrooms? That it should use legislation to limit peoples’ rights?

    • Jennifer Carey January 22, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      *regulate not *regular

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Oy! Jen, y’all have to get rid of Perry! This makes me want to come and rescue you from the state of Texas.

      • Jennifer Carey January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

        Or we just need more sane people in the state of Texas.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

        How will you attract them to the state of Texas?

      • Jennifer Carey January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

        TX has seen major growth the last few years from states like California. People come here because of the lower cost of living (especially real estate) and there are numerous big job opportunities. Probably why, Perry aside, TX has gotten a bit more liberal on some social issues. I think the political makeup of the state of TX will be much different in 10 years.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

        I hope and suspect you are right. It is hard not to view Texas through the lens of my youth.

  4. Jennifer Carey January 22, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Also here is a great story on abortion in Mississippi which currently only has one clinic that can perform abortion (which will likely close due to legislation).

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Yes, this is the clinic being attacked by the Governor of Mississippi.

      • nevercontrary January 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

        The clinic was closed I believe. About a week ago.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

        Oh YUCK!

      • nevercontrary January 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

        At least I know they could not meet the deadline yet again for the hospital access. Maybe they extended it a second time, but I am not hopeful of that.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

        It does not help that the white male Governor is deliberately trying to make it impossible for women to govern their own bodies.

      • nevercontrary January 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

        Please tell me you saw Boehner speech today announcing he intends to outlaw abortion this year.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

        I missed that! What an awful human being! He knew he could sink to new levels?

  5. roving1richard January 25, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    The decision does contain one largely ignored clause, that it would be null and void if the US adopted a ‘live at conception’ statement and it was only the lack of that clear law that allowed the decision they made.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 25, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      What you are referring to is the nefarious “Personhood Amendment,” to which I would ask why do you, or anyone, get to decide when sustainable life starts?

      • roving1richard January 25, 2013 at 10:26 am #

        because with out it even you or I could be declared not or no longer sustainable life for what ever reason was given. In Holland a child can be declared as non-sustainable up until 2 years of age.

      • Jennifer Carey January 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

        I’m sorry roving, but where is your source for that information? Haven’t spend quite a bit of time in Holland and with Dutch friends, I have never heard of this.

      • Jennifer Carey January 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

        *having spent

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