Roe V. Wade
No matter on which side you land, this is a heavy issue full of emotion and history. I believe most people come at this topic after great thought and deliberation. Sometimes those decisions are influenced by anecdotes or faith but these pressures were not the concern of the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973.
If we must discuss abortion – and I believe we do, we must understand the ruling from over 40 years ago. This decision was not “pro-abortion”. The seven affirming justices did not like either the case or the reality they had to face. They made clear that the best way to end abortion was to make the world a better place and end the need for the procedure. This decision came down to making the world a safer, more nurturing place (with fewer unplanned pregnancies) where a mother would not have to fear being ostracized or the starvation of herself or her child.
I have never found any mention in these works regarding the necessity to save a mother’s life or cases where the unborn child had no chance of survival outside the womb. These exclusions may be due to the limits of medical technology of the day or because the justices thought medical needs were outside the issue they were addressing.
I believe it is a form of torture to tell a family they must carry to term, or wait for weeks for the mother’s body to painfully terminate the pregnancy, a child they wanted that will never breathe. I cannot understand how it could be right to demand a mother sacrifice herself for a child that will not survive because to save at least the mother is illegal. These are extremes of the argument but are not hypothetical.
Education and medical birth control have dramatically reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies and some fraction of those pregnancies would have ended in abortion regardless of its legality. I see these avoided abortions as part of a better world and want to see more effort put forward to build the world the court wanted. I believe in a woman’s right to decide for herself, her body, and her life.
A judicial victory banning abortion will not end abortion. There were, and are, abortions despite bans all over the world. This ‘victory’ will only risk more lives. Instead, work toward a better world that will reduce the frequency of abortion until it nears zero.
There are studies that lay out abortion and crime rates (Donohue & Levitt) and blogs that try to break down each side (Freakonomics), but at the heart of the matter is a better world. I want that world for my child. I want that world for every child; fewer fears, more excitement, greater safety.