Then please follow it in your actual lives. Thanks a bunch!
• Rape is illegal: To this day, women, men, and children suffer the fate of this crime.
• Murder is illegal: I don’t know about you, but I hear about people being murdered in the news just about every day.
• Drugs are illegal: I think we all know of a few people that ignore this law. (Hey, they’re our bodies! Right?)
• Child abuse is illegal: Yes, this is also something that never ceased to exist after a law was passed that banned it.
I could continue but, instead, I will conclude the point I am trying to make with a hypothetical question:
Why bother making these things illegal if they are going to happen anyway?
It’s not simply “people will do it anyway.” It’s that when someone is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, they will find a way to terminate that pregnancy. Before abortion was legal in the US, thousands of people died from self induced or back alley abortions. Abortion being legal saves the lives of pregnant people who would die in the process of illegal abortion. I suggest you read this great article written by Eleanor Cooney recounting her pre Roe v. Wade search a for an abortion provider. She also talks about ER doctors experience treating and losing patients coming in with infections and perforated uteruses.
In the same book, a man who assisted in autopsies in a big urban hospital, starting in the mid-1950s, describes the many deaths from botched abortions that he saw. “The deaths stopped overnight in 1973.” He never saw another in the 18 years before he retired. “That,” he says, “ought to tell people something about keeping abortion legal.”
My grandmother, who’s a devout Christian born in Texas in 1929, has always been very open minded. She’s not racist or homophobic, most likely because as a Mexican she knew what it was like to face discrimination, but she’s extremely pro-choice, and a few years ago she told us why.
When she was a preteen (11-13), she moved to San Francisco and lived in an apartment building for some time, the woman in the apartment next to her was a young single nurse living on her own. This woman was very friendly, hard not to like.
After a while my grandmother noticed she hadn’t seen the nurse in some time, as did other people in the building. Around the time my grandmother was wondering where she went, she began to notice a bad smell coming from what seemed like somewhere in the apartment. As time went on the smell got worse, until her family realized it was coming from the apartment next to them, the nurse’s home.
When they broke the door down they found the nurse dead in her bathroom, the smell was from her body beginning to rot.
Turns out that the nurse had gotten pregnant from a very high up MARRIED doctor at the hospital she worked at. Of course in that time having a baby out of wedlock, especially from a married man, was something extremely shameful, so she had tried to give herself a home abortion and died in the process.
My grandmother never forgot what had happened to the nurse, and that was the reason she was and still is vehemently pro-choice.
When people say shit like “Our generation survived Roe V Wade” it makes me want to tear my hair out. These people, either out of ignorance or just plain stupidity, don’t acknowledge the FACT that Roe V Wade wasn’t the start of abortion, it was the LEGALIZATION of it.
LEGALIZATION MEANING THAT IT HAD ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING, NOW IT WAS JUST LEGAL TO DO IT.
Before Roe V Wade women like my grandmother’s neighbor were dying or being mutilated by home abortions or unlicensed doctors. Women are going to get abortions whether it’s legal or not, the best thing you can do for them is to give them a safe, clean environment with a licensed doctor and good moral support.
Anything less is simply a death sentence.
These stories break my heart and terrify me. We cannot let the knowledge of life before Roe v. Wade disappear from our minds. Especially now. I have never once heard a politician in favor of restricting and outlawing abortion talk about it. I have never heard any of them mention the thousands of deaths a year and how they plan to avoid it this time around if they get their way. We can’t let them get their way, we can’t go back.
“By presenting primary documents (fliers, handbooks, speeches, legal briefs), Before Roe v. Wade offers an in-depth look at the different voices that shaped the debate around abortion prior to the Roe ruling in 1973. Often, discussion of Roe v. Wade tends to obscure the political, legal, and social landscape before the case worked its way through the court system. Thus, Before Roe v. Wade seeks to illuminate the environment into which Roe landed — revealing how the seeds of the contemporary abortion wars were in fact planted in the late 60s and early 70s. The book is full of surprising information about the lengths women went to to obtain safe abortions before they were legal (all the way to Japan!), the way that religious institutions and clergy considered abortion, the population control-dimension to the debate, and the cases and legal arguments that preceded Roe.”
This is a review on the Amazon page for Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling. I really can’t wait to read it!
You’d better believe I’ll be posting about it.
PS My awesome pro-choice boyfriend just went to a lecture given by one of the co-authors at his law school.