Roe v. Wade, forty years on…

da bitch 2 decideFOR DA BITCH 2 DECIDE

One sees billboards of this ilk all over town. Giant sad-eyed babies stare down at Louisville motorists, silently imploring us not to “murder” them. There is also a Virgin Mary and Christ Child variation, designed to activate Catholic guilt. Think of all those unwanted fetuses floating around in Limbo. I’m not sure whether the purpose of the graffitist who added value to this claptwaddle by partially defacing it was primarily political, but he (I think he) stated an opposing opinion:


I don’t agree with the form of statement, but I agree with the sentiment expressed; the decision to bring a child into the world or to abort that child is the sole right of the woman who bears that child in her womb. The man who squirted the sperm into her womb that fertilized her ovum, whether husband or rapist, has no right whatsoever to contravene the woman’s decision. On this day in 1973 the Supreme Court partially recognized what I consider an absolute right: The right of any pregnant woman to murder the life she carries in her womb. Most people who take the Pro-Choice position would not agree with the form of my statement.

The anti-abortion lobby has spent the past forty years gnashing away at the legal precedent established on January 22, 1973, engaging in every sort of fanatical antic including intimidation and legal duress, up to the maiming and murder of post-fetal humans. Since abortion intersects with our most basic biological urge, and since the dominant Christian ethos in the United States implicitly promotes patriarchal control of sex and child-bearing, sanity will never prevail on this issue; an aliquot of the population will always be in a froth of sentimental fury over women having control over their wombs, exercising the right to personal autonomy in matters of sex and child-bearing, and having the ability to say no. We who favor women’s rights can no more excise the ‘Lifers of the Pro-Life movement from the body politic than the ‘Lifers can eliminate abortion. For, like religion, abortion, and before that infanticide, is something humans have been doing since prehistory.

Abortion can hedged around with taboo, shame, humiliation, and legal sanctions; it can be made expensive, unsafe, and illegal, but it cannot be eliminated. Abortion is a human elaboration of instinctual mammal behavior more primal than the human elaboration of social instinct that is religion. The ability to abandon or kill offspring under certain circumstances is an inherited trait selected over evolutionary time by the survival of mothers who lived to breed again, and/or nuture other children, who lived to breed themselves. That is the “right to life” bequeathed to Homo Sapiens by the process of natural selection. Women have that right, though some will never recognize it. Indeed, I suspect many who support choice, reject patriarchy, and “accept” evolution as “true” will find this statement harsh. Reductive. As the Rabbi said, “I’m thinking out loud and letting you listen.” I prefer that abortion be, as the slogan states it, “Safe, legal, and rare.” But it comes down to this:



2 responses to “Roe v. Wade, forty years on…

  1. Dana:

    Well put.


  2. One might be interested in this link.

    Apparently the Catholic viewpoint can vary depending on the state and
    the money involved, leaving three ultra-conservative bishops with
    some severe cognitive dissonance ?

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