50 Years is a Long Time

Last Friday the Supreme Court overturned a ruling made in 1973 that made it legal for women to have the right to an abortion. I remember when that original decision was handed down. With a lot of protests from both sides of the issue, just as we’re seeing now.

During the years preceding the original Roe decision there were countless protests in the country for the same reasons we are having them now. Two very different and angry sides on this opinion that now, after another set of judges interpreting the same document, have decided that this medical procedure is not protected under the Constitution. 

Can someone please explain how fifty years ago the justices decided the law one way, and how suddenly those other justices were wrong and THIS is the way it’s supposed to be? And will another set of justices change it again in another fifty years? Do we have to wait that long?

Now the individual states are again free to enact any laws they wish restricting this medical procedure, up to the point of criminal charges against both the woman and her doctor for performing an abortion.

Some are even suggesting the death penalty being a possibility for being found guilty. You say that couldn’t happen? There will most likely be instances in which it is tried. Which will take us back to the Supreme Court once again, and who knows how they would rule now?!

Now don’t get me wrong with what I am about to say. Although I’m sure many people will. I do not like abortion except in certain instances such as rape or incest, where the life of the mother is at stake, or where the fetus is not viable.

But…and this is where it gets sticky, I do NOT believe that the government has a right to enact laws which prevent a woman making a decision about her own body and how she deals with this situation. This should be a decision made between the woman, her doctor, and her faith/beliefs. And we cannot legislate those beliefs. We cannot legislate morality, or should I say our version of morality.

It should not be the governments’ authority to decide what a woman can do, or not do, with her own body.

I’ve heard all of the cheers of joy from the religious community, about how no one can kill innocent babies any more, etc. But this opens a bigger can of worms. 

What about the women forced to carry a pregnancy which for their very personal and private reasons they just don’t feel they can do? Are they now relegated to being citizens with limited rights as opposed to men? What if these women have no health insurance? Who takes care of their prenatal care? The actual delivery? What if they cannot afford that baby, or the care it requires? What if they just aren’t a woman who wants to become a mother, but contraception failed, and here they are….

Adoption, they say. That’s the answer! More babies to adopt! That’s not as easy as it sounds, however, and adoption laws are also tightly regulated by the states. Years ago after my husband and I failed to be able to have a second child we tried to adopt a baby, and were turned down every step of the way. We’d each been divorced previously; we already had a natural child. We were too old. We both worked full time. The list went on and on. And the costs? They were crazy.

So…if there are so many laws restricting adoption, why do some of the states feel they have the right to force a woman to bear a child when she may not fit the criteria of adopting one?

I personally know at least one woman who had an abortion. She said it was one of the most difficult decisions of her life. And yes, she still thinks about it and wonders…but she also knows it was the right decision for her at the time. Yes, she’s a friend of mine, and I support the decision she made because it was her personal decision. 

And it should be a personal decision for every woman, whether I agree with them or not. It’s not my place to judge someone.

It is also not up to the government to make laws that are based on religious principles and Christian faith, because not everyone in this country believes the same way. And I find it difficult to believe that the judges’ personal beliefs did not enter into this ruling in any way. How could it not?

I believe that we should have the right over our own bodies to do what we believe is right for us. 

And yes, I am a Christian. But many of you reading this will probably say I cannot be a believer because I don’t think the right way. Which is judging me.

Yes, you are entitled to your opinion. And so am I. But you are not entitled to tell me what mine should be and berate me for not agreeing with you. Nor can I berate you for your opinion.

Now before you tell me I’m in support of murdering babies, let’s stop right here. As I said, this is a sticky situation. Yes, I believe life begins at conception. I also know it’s almost impossible for a woman to know immediately when she conceives. Sometimes she doesn’t know for several weeks. And some of the potential laws I’m hearing rumors about go as far as making it a crime for a woman to endanger her pregnancy even before she actually knows she’s pregnant. 

Pregnancy is also not an easy condition to go through. For every beautiful picture you see of a woman with that “pregnant glow” and growing belly, there’s a pregnant woman who is sick as she can be from that pregnancy. My daughter is one of those; she has the same problem with each pregnancy that Kate Middleton had, which is hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes severe vomiting during the entire pregnancy, often resulting in dehydration and sometimes hospital stays. It’s certainly not fun, and not easy to go through. But she chose these pregnancies, and we are thrilled that she did!

There are also other serious pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and placenta prévia, all of which are potentially life threatening to both mother and child. The daughter of a friend of ours has all three of these conditions with her pregnancy, as she did with three others, and is on permanent bed rest until the baby can be safely delivered. However, these girls made a choice to have their babies knowing the risks of such complications. Does the government have the authority to force a woman to endure all of that if her pregnancy is that difficult? Could that be construed as a form of cruel and unusual punishment?

There’s also been talk about looking at new regulations regarding contraception; as it relates to women, of course, since men can’t conceive and have children. Wonder how that would work if men could conceive!

Where is all of this going to end?

I have no good answers. But I am deeply concerned about what has just happened in our country. I am far beyond the age of being able to get pregnant, as are the majority of my friends, but I worry for our daughters and granddaughters, as to their reproductive futures, as well as what other restrictive laws may be enacted that will restrict our individual rights even further.

More thoughts on that at a later date. This is enough to handle for now.