| || |
The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 20, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
This month is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. I've noticed several articles about the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota's only abortion clinic. Most of the articles note that North Dakota is one of a handful of states that has just one abortion clinic. As at other such clinics, the Red River Women's Clinic has dealt with protests and its staff are wary of potential threats. Volunteers escort women to the abortion clinic entrance, past the protesters.
According to the AP, the clinic performs 1,200 abortions each year. The same article notes that the clinic is suing the state over a bill passed in the 2011 Legislature that bans use of a medication that induces abortion. The abortion pill would probably make it easier for women to end a pregnancy.
On a personal level I've always had mixed feelings about abortion and the laws that govern it. I believe life begins at conception and an unborn child has a soul. I am still too Catholic to think otherwise. Even if you do not share that belief, it's hard not to look at ultrasound pictures of fetuses at just a few months gestation and fail to see their humanity. At a minimum, a fetus is a POTENTIAL life and ending its existence shouldn't be taken lightly.
That said, there are undoubtedly circumstances under which an abortion might be a regrettable necessity, if it will save the life or health or the sanity of the mother. I could not personally justify forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy if she could die as a result or if it meant she could become so distraught she might consider suicide as an option. I couldn't justify forcing her to carry the pregnancy to term if it meant her future fertility would be threatened or if her physical health would be otherwise compromised. In such cases, abortion ought to be considered self defense.
Women who seek abortions also generally do so because of highly difficult circumstances: a bad relationship, financial trouble, a life that is spiraling out of control. It might be easier said than done for a woman to place a child for adoption, since mothers who do so experience lifelong heartache. Under those circumstances, abortion might look like the easiest option.
If we really want to prevent some of those 1,200 abortions in this state, we need to make it a whole lot easier for women to support and care for a child. The social safety net, including such things as increased child care and housing assistance for needy families and social service programs that help families in crisis, need to be far, far stronger.
I will never actively support the Red River Women's Clinic and hope that one day it will no longer be needed in this state. But I also wish that our legislators would pay more attention to passing laws that will make life easier for parents and their small children instead of passing additional and probably counterproductive laws that make it harder for a woman to get an abortion.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web