40 years ago today, ladies, our vaginas were granted the right to choose. No matter which side you fall on the abortion party line, that’s what this decision really signifies. We, as women, are allowed to choose the best route we see for ourselves whether that be early termination or carrying to term; we are in charge of our own bodies.
A Brief Overview
Roe v. Wade overturned the illegality of abortion across the United States, using the Fourteenth Amendment as its reasoning. In doing so, a woman, aided by her physician, could choose the best route available for her specific circumstance, taking into account her health over that of her fetus. Basically, this meant that a doctor could make a decision based on the likelihood of the fetus surviving outside the womb. Meaning, as the likelihood of survival outside the womb increase, the more the fetus’ health was taken into consideration over the woman’s.
In the first trimester, abortion could be treated as a standard medical procedure (today, this stage is typically a prescribed pill). In the second trimester, the state would uphold a physician’s decision to perform an abortion provided it was done so to protect the woman’s health. After viability of fetus (meaning, it’s now likely that the fetus will survive outside the womb), the state could now consider the fetus as a potential for human life – and make decisions based on that potential so long as, again, the decision was made with the woman’s health and life as its main interest.
The CDC recently released its findings on abortion rates for 2009. You can read about it here. The CDC found that abortion rates lowered more than any one-year increment in over a decade, decreasing by 5%. Over 90% of the performed abortions took place within the first trimester. And about 70% of those were performed before 8 weeks. And we all fall right into that majority age-group; we are the most likely of all to get an abortion.
Interestingly, just two years prior, the FDA approved Plan B as an over-the-counter contraceptive. And in 2009, it became a single pill rather than the original two.
If anything, these statistics should tell us that greater availability to freedom of choice leads to better decisions.
Unfortunately, as we get deeper and deeper into the 2000′s, we’re facing more and more laws that threaten to overturn Roe v. Wade. And while, technically, the law is about abortion, at its core, it is about our right to choose and make decisions for our own bodies. And just like we wouldn’t want another person choosing our tampons (or forcibly inserting them – talking to you Arizona), we don’t really want anyone but us choosing our life-plans. Choose abortion or choose adoption or choose condoms or choose abstinence or choose the pill or choose REALLY waiting until marriage. Whatever. The point is, it’s your choice.