People on both sides of the abortion debate agree that every young woman should know what really went down in Roe v. Wade. This year, the infamous decision will reach its 45th anniversary on January 22. So, what did Roe v. Wade really do? What effect has it had on women? See how many of these five facts you already know…
1. Roe v. Wade was based on outdated science and medicine.
Everyone can agree that science matters. And science is not thoughts or opinions, but instead, it’s actually facts. In Roe v. Wade, Harry Blackmun (the Supreme Court justice who authored the majority opinion), said that since medicine couldn’t say when human life began, the Court couldn’t say either:
We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.
Today, 45 years later, medicine and science have a firm answer: from the earliest moment of a child’s existence — conception — he or she is a living, unique human being.
2. Roe v. Wade was rooted in the appropriation of a poor woman’s pain.
For many years, people wanted to know who “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade was. She revealed herself as Norma McCorvey, and her story is definitely fit for the history books. McCorvey was “a ninth-grade dropout who was raped repeatedly by a relative, and a homeless runaway and thief consigned to reform school…married at 16, divorced and left pregnant three times by different men. She had bouts of suicidal depression.” McCorvey also suffered from addiction, and when she found attorney Sarah Weddington, she was seeking an illegal abortion.
Weddington, who had her own plans to strike down pro-life laws around the nation, saw McCorvey as the test case she’d been searching for. McCorvey claims Weddington duped her and used her, then didn’t speak to her for years. McCorvey found out Roe v. Wade had won at the Supreme Court through the news, not through her attorney.
Weddington’s use of McCorvey was confirmed when she shared her real thoughts about her, after McCorvey had converted to Christianity and the pro-life movement: “She’s a stupid piece of white trash. She’s pro-life and a Christian. … She’s a piece of trash. She was stupid when we found her and she’s worse now.”
For more info: Roe v. Wade and the exploitation of Norma McCorvey
3. Roe v. Wade, combined with its companion case, made abortion on demand legal, up until the moment of birth.
Most young women have heard about Roe v. Wade, but its companion case — decided the very same day — is less known. Doe v. Bolton bolstered the Court’s abortion ruling in Roe by saying that women had a “right” to abortion for health reasons.
But what, exactly, did the Court say “health” is? Health can be determined “in the light of all factors —physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” In other words, if a woman’s family situation and current emotional state can be considered, any reason at all for abortion is allowed.
Few people realize that late-term abortion is legal in the United States, but the fact is that the U.S. is one of only seven nations — including North Korea and China — that still allow abortion for any reason up until birth. Several states have banned this, and a number of them have defined the “health” exception more narrowly than Roe, or even eliminated it completely, but abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy remains the national standard of the U.S.
For more info: Is abortion necessary for the life and health of the mother?
4. Roe v. Wade legalized one of the most brutal, invasive, anti-human rights procedures committed today.
Think about the most horrible, modern-day human rights injustice you’ve ever heard or read about. Maybe the Rohingya baby thrown alive into the fire? Perhaps child soldiers who are brutalized and brainwashed? Minors who are sold and trafficked into sexual slavery? There is no lack of brutality, injustice, and inequality in this world.
Reading and hearing about these human rights injustices pushes young women to take action; to do what they can to end the suffering and oppression of others. But, have you ever considered what actually happens in an abortion? It’s more than a “medical procedure” or the “emptying of the womb.” Take the word of an OBGYN and former abortionist, who personally committed over 1200 abortions. In the animated video below (and the additional videos here), you’ll come to understand why abortion is undoubtedly one of the most brutal, invasive and inhuman procedures committed in the U.S. today. What’s more, Planned Parenthood commits nearly 881 brutal abortions every day, and one every 98 seconds. (Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion chain, committing roughly one-third of the nation’s abortions.)
It’s no wonder one-third of pro-choice women who watch these videos change their minds on abortion.
For more info: The videos and other facts at AbortionProcedures.com
5. Roe v. Wade told women that motherhood wasn’t natural and that they could either be a mom or a success — but not both.
The 45-year-old case presented women with a false dichotomy: your child or yourself. Choose your child, Roe told women, and you sacrifice your own success, your own education, your own career. Choose yourself, Roe said, and you can always have a child later. Or, if you don’t, who cares? Women have no need to be mothers.
In many ways, Roe v. Wade taught today’s young women that motherhood is unnatural, which is weird, considering the organs all women are born with. Roe pushed down the maternal instinct, making college students, young career women, and women of all ages, backgrounds, and aspirations feel that their natural desires were almost criminal.
Why would you want to be a mother when abortion means you don’t have to be? This is the question Roe continues to pose to young women. Instead of encouraging women to see themselves as strong and capable of motherhood and (fill in the blank here), Roe tells women they are so weak, they have to choose; they cannot have both. And not just “choose,” but actually, literally kill a child in the process of that “choice.” (If you doubt that abortion is “violent” or “killing,” take a look at the animated videos that make one-third of pro-choice women change their minds.) Roe has not enabled women to have choices, but instead, it has pushed violence onto mothers and death onto their children.
Erika Bachiochi, a successful attorney and one-time abortion advocate, wrote a brilliant defense of motherhood and a condemnation of abortion for CNN. (The must-read column is here.)
Abortion expects nothing more of men, nothing more of medicine, and nothing more of society at large. Abortion betrays women by having us believe that we must become like men — that is, not pregnant — to achieve parity with them, professionally, socially, educationally. And if we are poor, overwhelmed or abandoned by the child’s father, or if medical expenses would be too great for us or for our child, social “responsibility” requires us to rid ourselves of our own offspring. …
When we belittle the developing child in the womb, a scientific reality that most pro-choice advocates have come to admit, we belittle and distort that child’s mother. We make her out to be one with property rights over her developing unborn child (much as husbands once had property rights over their wives).
We give her the inhumane (but for 42 years, constitutionally protected) right to decide the fate of another human being, of a vulnerable child — her child — to whom she properly owes an affirmative duty of care. We do all this rather than offering her the myriad familial and social supports she needs, whatever her situation, and cherishing her role in the miracle of human life.
For more info: CNN prints ‘I’m a feminist, and I’m against abortion’