Shakespeare’s Juliet once said, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But sometimes, horrors are hidden by the names we give them. Take Roe, for example.
The 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States, has been widely celebrated as a case defending the liberty of women. Roe has been credited with everything from bringing women out of the dark ages to allowing women to sleep peacefully at night. The anniversary of Roe is always marked with jubilant celebration from countless politicians and women’s rights advocates who see Roe as the hallmark decision of a battle for women’s equality.
But why is Roe worth celebrating?
The answer for many Roe supporters was brought to light in a Twitter account created by Planned Parenthood to celebrate the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this past January. The account invited supporters to tweet about what Roe meant to them, with each tweet starting with either the phrase “Because of Roe…” or the phrase “Since Roe…” The hundreds of responses were strikingly repetitive, a few being:
Because of Roe, i’ve been able to pursue a career and successfully manage my finances. —Wendy Robin S.
Because of Roe, I got to choose between having a baby or staying in college. I direct the path of my own life. —Erica P.
Because of Roe, I wasn’t tied to the wrong man for the rest of my life.
Because of Roe, I live in a society in which we are working toward every child being a wanted child. –Elizabeth G
Because of Roe, I am in control —Tina B.
These candid responses clearly seem designed around American ideas of liberty, freedom, and equal opportunity for all. The tiny word Roe is hardly even noticed. It seems so positive, so innocuous.
But what is Roe?
Roe is perhaps the greatest euphemism in America today. It masks the sinister truth that on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court, through the cases Roe .v Wade and Doe v. Bolton (decided the same day), ruled that it was legal to kill an unborn child – to stop a tiny heartbeat and end a human life – throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Yet that tiny word, Roe, has been successfully used to win campaigns, earn millions of dollars of funding, and shame those who oppose abortion. Roe is the unmatched rallying cry of abortion supporters.
This rosy picture of Roe, however, is instantly shattered when the euphemism is dropped. Try reading the above testimonies with the phrase “killing children became legal” substituted for “Roe.”
Because killing children became legal, i’ve been able to pursue a career and successfully manage my finances.
Because killing children became legal, I got to choose between having a baby or staying in college. I direct the path of my own life.
Because killing children became legal, I wasn’t tied to the wrong man for the rest of my life.
Because killing children became legal, I live in a society in which we are working toward every child being a wanted child.
Because killing children became legal, I am in control.
How many Americans would truly sign their names to these statements?
I offer Planned Parenthood this challenge. Planned Parenthood, when you ask for testimonies on the next anniversary of Roe v. Wade, change the mandatory opening phrase from “Because of Roe…” to “Because killing children is legal…” See for yourself if your thousands of supporters truly support your cause, or just the name you have given it. When it comes down to the truth, Roe by any other name is tragically horrific.