As President Donald Trump and his Republican cronies ramp up the momentum that would allow him to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court prior to the upcoming midterm elections, some abortion opponents have already begun to celebrate — optimistic that “Roe v. Wade,” the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, will end up being overturned. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to appoint pro-life justices to the Court, while his running mate, now-Vice President Mike Pence, expressed the hope that he’d see “Roe v. Wade” end up on the “ash heap of history.”
Around the same time and with far less fanfare, some state legislatures like Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi, following earlier examples made by Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois and both Dakotas, began to approve strict limits on abortion. Legal experts predicted that if enough states followed a similar strategy, they could initiate a successful challenge to the 1973 decision that resulted in a profound, paradigmatic shift in American culture.
On the other hand, states like California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington passed laws to maintain the legality of abortion even if “Roe v. Wade” were eventually overturned due to a distinctly reconfigured Supreme Court — changed because a president with views akin to Donald Trump had taken over and found it necessary to replace one or more of the justices.
So, I’m confused. Moreover, I’m eternally grateful that I am NOT a woman whose life, right to make decisions about her own body and both her personal and reproductive freedom seem to be inching ever closer to the precipice where changing trends in public opinion could very well throw what women want or how they feel over the edge, under the bus and into the murky waters of “who cares what women want.”
Yes, I’m so glad that I ain’t a woman. Moral and religious perspectives aside if for just a moment, I wonder why abortion has become such a prominent political issue when it seems to be something that should be considered and decided in the privacy of one’s home and with one’s physician — not in the Supreme Court and not based on the views of state legislators bound by the opinions of their constituents. Should a woman’s rights be tied to the number of protestors who march along Constitution Avenue each year on the anniversary of the Court’s decision whether that number escalates or dwindles? Not from my perspective.
But then, as we all know, women don’t have the wherewithal, the critical skills of reasoning — or even brains large enough for them to adequately make such important decisions like what’s best for their own bodies. They’re just not smart enough to make life-altering decisions, right? And isn’t it a fact that the world is better served when women, like children, are seen and not heard. After all, while women since the 70s may have discovered both the courage and strength, in the words of Helen Reddy, to sing a new song — to “roar,” they simply cannot compete with the more resounding, lower-pitched vocalizations of men.
For the record, I am only being sarcastic.
Back to the real world — my understanding of it at any rate. During my sophomore year in college, my girlfriend, then a college freshman and whom I truly loved, discovered she was pregnant. We both wanted to keep the baby and were eager to share the good news with those beyond our immediate family. Baby daddy and other phrases that make me shudder, weren’t part of the common vernacular. Nonetheless, it didn’t take long before I realized that I’d have to suspend my studies in order to get a job so I could care for my new, unplanned family. She, too, was forced to face the reality that her dreams would need to be deferred. We both feared that we might never finish school and were similarly concerned that our impulsive behavior, having unprotected sex, could forever impact our futures and limit the paths before us with only high school diplomas under our belts. In the end, we made the difficult, painful decision to abort the child we’d conceived, blaming ourselves for being reckless.
Soon after the procedure had been completed, I remember a growing resentment that raised its ugly head between us. We both lamented over the life that could have been. But we also knew that we just weren’t prepared or ready in any shape or fashion to adequately face the challenges, the responsibilities and the seismic shift in life that come when couples become parents — especially when both are still teenagers.
Women are wise enough to decide what’s best for them. And I never want America to return to those days when women had no alternative but to seek an abortion in unsterile backrooms at the hands of unlicensed, untrained “monsters” or in the shadows of darkened alleyways. Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, it seems to me that the ultimate decision should rest with a woman.
But for fun, let’s just imagine what the world would be like if it were men, not women, who were the ones whose hands rocked the cradle, who could become pregnant and who therefore bore the responsibility of carrying babies, like it or not, to full term. That would be something to see.
Once more, let me say for the record, I’m glad I’m not a woman.