Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35 Years of Roe v. Wade

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

It's hard to believe it's been 35 years. Now, I know that's partly because I was a freshman in college when the decision was handed down -- and it's hard to believe that was SO long ago.

But it's also because 35 years after abortion became safe and legal in the United States, it is still hotly contested rather than understood as a legitimate surgical procedure that allows women to exercise their moral agency when faced with an unplanned pregnancy or a maternal or fetal health crisis.

Last week, the Guttmacher Institute released a report that abortion rates were at their lowest level since 1974 -- but they couldn't explain if that's because abortion is increasingly difficult to obtain or because unplanned pregnancies have decreased or because...

In my experience over the past 35 years walking with women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, first as a friend, then as a counselor, and now as a minster, the reasons that women choose to have abortions or choose to carry pregnancies to term are as individual as the individual woman. Another recent Guttmacher report found that more than half of women choosing abortion already have children and don't feel they can take care of another baby.

But, what I know, deep in my core, is that women do not make these decisions lightly, whatever the outcome. And that today, I am as committed to assuring women's right to safe, legal, and accessible abortion services as I was back in 1973. I just wish I didn't have to be.

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