“Abortion” and “Roe v. Wade” have been thrown around a lot lately, mostly because of the recent South Dakota abortion ban. The ban is supposed to be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, a concept that some cheer and others cringe at. The Quad has done an excellent job of representing (even over-representing) a single view on the issue, so I hope to bring the pro-life perspective to a bit more light. First of all, it should be noted that pro-lifers are not women-hating conservatives who wish to return to a time of female suppression any more than pro-choice people are bloodthirsty maniacs who enjoy murdering small children in their spare time. Each side has their own reasons for feeling as they do on the issue. That said, let’s consider that the law-makers of South Dakota had somebody’s benefit in mind (specifically, the unborn child’s) even if the reader may not agree that this somebody deserves thoughts or laws in their favor.
What exactly would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned? Would it outlaw all abortions in the United States? Not at all. The full effect of the Roe v. Wade being overturned would depend on the states, because those are the hands that abortion laws would go to. Currently, laws banning abortion in the first trimester are not permissible, but if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, states would have the option of imposing such bans. States that did not wish to do so would remain as they are.
Why bring up Roe v. Wade? Because the case at its core needs re-examining. We understand more about prenatal development and the extent to which the unborn can feel pain or exhibit other signs of personhood. Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) has stated that she lied during her testimony about being gang-raped, in an attempt to build sympathy for her case. She was used by the pro-choice advocates as a means for getting their law passed. In fact, she has completely reversed her opinion on the issue:
“I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. “Norma,” I said to myself, “They’re right.” I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth–that’s a baby!”
One would think that if anyone would know if there was a flaw in the ruling, Roe herself would. Yet against her wishes, pro-choicers continue to claim that we must never go back on Roe.
There is another issue that has a way of coming up whenever abortion is discussed, and that is rape. Shortly after the South Dakota ban, the director of the South Dakota Planned Parenthood commented, “We fully expected this, yet it’s still distressing to know that this legislative body cares so little about women, about families, about women who are victims of rape or incest.”
It is an interesting fact that pro-choice advocates seem to insist that a women who is the victim of rape or incest always wants an abortion. In the case of incest, the “right to an abortion” is often horribly abused by parents who would like to get rid of the evidence that incest is occurring.
Rape is a ugly dirty word that tends to arose out emotions. It makes us feel anger. Yet our anger is not always directed at the right person. The culprit is the rapist, not the child. I read an interesting book recently entitled, Victims and Victors which gives accounts of women who have become pregnant through rape, and includes the testimonies of those who choose abortion and those who chose to raise their child or give the child up for adoption. Carrying a child to term can be an empowering decision for a woman who has been victimized. Abortion does not always ease the pain of rape, in fact, it may compound it. Some victims report feeling grief over the abortion long after the grief of the rape has eased.
I was in one of my classes at WCU, and I had a professor who made it very well known to me that she was pro-choice the first day I referenced the “partial-birth abortion ban.” (By the way, I call it this not because I am pro-life, but because that is the name of the bill.) The ban had recently been signed by Bush and one of our assignments was the look up information on various special interest groups. When she began to lightly make fun of the pro-life sites, I commented that not a single pro-choice site described the procedure in any detail, only how to combat the ban. The professor seem surprised and commented, “Oh, I’m sure they do,” and proceeded to search in front of the class, finding nothing. Not wanting to take up more class time, she said, “I’m sure they have it somewhere.”
I am very much in favor of discussing abortion looking at both sides of the issue, but because it rouses such emotions, that can be difficult. On Tuesday evening, April 11, the Students for Life club is holding an Abortion Awareness forum in an attempt to speak about abortion procedures in an unbiased manner and discuss the various points of view. I am hopeful that students on campus will attend to learn more about the actual procedures that are being discussed. To hold an opinion is one thing, but it should be done with a full understanding of the issue. For those who cannot attend the forum, I certainly encourage attendance to the Students for Life meetings which are held Tuesdays at 8p.m. in Sykes 251.
Miranda Doe is a student at West Chester University.