Today we remember the 39th anniversary of one of the worst decisions in our nation’s history; Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that basically legalized abortions, a medical procedure that ‘terminates’ the life of a baby in the womb.
This ruling has plagued and severely divided our nation ever since not just because of the tremendous injustice it has brought to unborn babies, women and families but also because of the monstrous imbalance of power it gave to the federal government over the sovereignty of the states.
Today, thousands of men, women and children gathered together in our nation’s capitol and in other cities around the country to march, in both protest of this 1973 ruling, but also in remembrance—of all the lives that have been destroyed because of it.
But while we continue to fight against this ruling, we have to remember that Roe v. Wade may have made it legal for a woman to choose to abort the baby in her womb, it will take more than just another court ruling to change the culture that has not only accepted it but ferociously embraced it.
The “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” lines in politics is clear but when the dust settles between heated arguments, there remain the real issues—the real women and the real children and real families who are affected by abortion. In order to “end abortion” we’ll have to put down our posters and megaphones and take a good look at why a woman chooses to abort her own child. And we have to realize that, in many cases, not only is this an extremely difficult decision for a woman it is also not what she really wanted. The reasons women abort their children existed before Roe v. Wade and they will exist even after Roe v. Wade is overturned or after stricter abortion laws are passed.
I am not saying we should abandon these pursuits to overturn Roe v. Wade or work on restrictions on abortions in order to get there. I’m just saying that if we care for the defenseless babies we must also care for their mothers by listening to them and supporting them so they don’t feel that killing their own child is the only real choice for them. And when I say “we”, I am not talking about the government; I am talking about we, the people.
Perhaps in this regard I share some agreement in President Obama’s remarks on the Roe v. Wade anniversary.
“While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”
Of course I differ with him on how to do this, especially when it comes to the part about preventing unintended pregnancies, but that’s a whole different can of worms I’ll save for another post.
In general, I do support an individual’s rights to make their own health care choices and I firmly believe “that government should not intrude on private family [health] matters.” But I draw the line when it comes to abortion because we are not talking only about one person here but at least TWO. Abortion has a 100% chance of causing death to at least one person and a high chance of causing long-term pain and suffering to another. This isn’t just another health care decision, this is a decision that terminates a defenseless life—a life that also deserves the right of “choice”.
No matter what the circumstances are, or what sort of life the child might be born into, he or she still deserves at least a chance to live, to be free and to discover happiness in life just like any of the rest of us.
In ending a post that could go on forever, I think Mother Teresa, who worked with the poorest of the poor and understood pain and suffering, articulated the tragedy of Roe v. Wade the best.
“It is a tragedy that a child must die so that a woman may live as she pleases.”
“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.