Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe vs Wade Decision is 40 Years Old

I surprisingly don't have much to say regarding Roe vs Wade, except to point out that that access to abortion is as always under threat, and the reason for any individual female-bodied person to seek an abortion is still her business first and foremost, regardless of the legislation that other people want to impose on her body.  Legislation that reduces access to reproductive health care services doesn't help a woman manage her reproductive destiny, limit her chance of conceiving, effect her economic status for the positive, provide her with the education and means to successfully carry a child to term and raise it, or improve her life in any measurable way. It just tries to keep her from having an abortion, and it is only successful for those who don't have the economic means to circumvent such barriers. I am highly skeptical of the term "pro-life" because so-called "pro-life" (anti-choice) legislation can be so very anti-woman:





On Tuesday, January 15th, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law will publish our study, “Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health.” This study makes clear that post-Roe anti-choice and “pro-life” measures are being used to do more than limit access to abortion; they are providing the basis for arresting women, locking them up, and forcing them to submit to medical interventions, including surgery. The cases documented in our study through 2005, as well as more recent cases, make clear that 40 years after Roe v. Wade was decided, far more is at stake than abortion or women’s reproductive rights. Pregnant women face attacks on virtually every right associated with constitutional personhood, including the very basic right to physical liberty.   
Our study identified 413 criminal and civil cases involving the arrests, detentions, and equivalent deprivations of pregnant women’s physical liberty that occurred between 1973 (when Roe v. Wade was decided) and 2005. Because many cases are not reported publicly, we know that this is a substantial under count. Furthermore, new data collection indicates that at least 250 such interventions have taken place since 2005.
I am for the recognition of the personhood of pregnant women. I am in favor of their access to the health care that helps them negotiate their existence, first and foremost, on their own terms. I do not find it acceptable that other people interpose their own morality, whether based on religion or other social concern, on those women and their bodies. The cornerstone of the Roe vs Wade decision was privacy--the idea that abortion was a medical procedure and should be left between the patient and her health care provider, without the interference of the state--and for what it's worth, I think that idea could be more strongly defended against a lot of the bullshit women face in trying to obtain an abortion today.

When I consider the hour's worth of sorting through pictures of anti-abortion fetus snuff porn I came across while researching Roe, I'm pretty sure that "life" is hardly what anti-choicers have in mind. Rather, the "concern" I've seen regarding the act of abortion is about shaming pregnant women, transfiguring them from "sluts" to "baby-killers" based on their sexualty and rejection of their fertility, and all-around getting off on finding reasons to mind some other person's business. Why else the concentration on how the person was impregnated ("legitimate rape" or fornication)? Why else the transvaginal ultrasound mandates?  Why else the protesters getting in women's faces, without any concern of why they are seeking care at the clinic of their convenience?

It isn't concern for those women, I think one can be sure. It isn't respect for their privacy, or right to their own bodies. Which is why, despite all these attacks on Roe, I believe it should stand. And I will never quite grasp how anyone might think this decision is anything but the choice of the pregnant person, herself; I will never understand how anyone wants to make this decision without trying to stand in her shoes, grasp her obligations, debts, fears, unless, unless, oh, unless--

They don't get that this pregnant person is not just pregnant--but a person. The Roe decision acknowledged the standing of the pregnant woman in her own affairs.  I hope society catches up with this radical idea that pregnant women are people first. And I have great hope. 

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