On Jan. 22 I recognized the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a ruling that came long before my birth. Being a woman born after Jan. 22, 1973, comes with a certain privilege that those before Roe lived without. I don’t know what it is like to have to watch my generation’s sisters huddle in the shame of back alleys, shunned by doctors and lawmakers alike. . Because I was born after Jan. 22, 1973, because of those brave women who dared to say, “Enough!” I and my generation have never experienced a life without Roe.
Roe v. Wade makes political that which should never be political, the reproductive choices of women. By ruling with the Fourteenth amendment and stating that a woman’s reproductive decisions were protected under the right to privacy, they made clear what every feminist has always known. The choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy belongs to the woman, and not to a legislator. The woman is, and always will be, the moral agent fully protected by the law.
Without access to safe and legal abortions, not only would women be forced into dangerous conditions and higher mortality rates, but they would be forced to bear children against their will. The impact on civil liberties and human rights would be devastating.
While the anti-abortion movement is desperate to personify a few dozen cells, the fact of the matter remains that we cannot predict every circumstance in which a woman might need to terminate a pregnancy, so therefore, Roe v. Wade must remain the law of the land. It is as simple, and as complex, as that. As long as access to birth control is restricted and fought, the anti-abortionists promote shame, blame and non-solutions. An imperfect world necessitates women have access to abortion.
Roe v. Wade was a long overdue decision that has stood the test of time, despite endless battles from the radical religious right and an administration determined to shrink all civil liberties. With legislation being introduced daily to restrict access to both abortion and birth control, Roe v. Wade still stands proud and resolute as a milestone in the women’s rights movement. I, for one, celebrated the 35th anniversary, and gave thanks for my choice.
Alex Kindell Senior English President of Students for Choice