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On the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a number of women have posted thought-provoking, insightful, and heartfelt commentaries on reproductive choice, what it means to be pregnant, fetal personhood, and abortion. Here's a sampling:
Robin Marty is technically 'pregnant,' but the fetus she is carrying died at 8 weeks. Yet her body wouldn't naturally miscarry the 'products of conception,' so at 12 weeks she had a D & C. Now, at 24 weeks, based on her pregnancy hormone levels, she's still 'pregnant.' She writes:
I think of these timelines when I hear people touting the personhood amendment, or declaring that life begins the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg. They are so definite that that is the moment life that a woman is "pregnant." But when, then, does a woman become "not pregnant?"
Was it when the fetus lost its heartbeat? In that case, I haven't been pregnant in almost four months....
I find it hard to understand how people can be certain that a fertilized egg at that precise moment becomes a life. It hasn't implanted anywhere where it can grow in order to live. It doesn't have a heartbeat. It hasn't become something that can survive without assistance. How does it now develop total rights that surpass even that of the woman carrying it?
If the end of a pregnancy can be this fluid, how can "this is the exact moment that a human begins and has rights?" Pregnancy is far too complicated for that.
Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights wonders why a Kansas judge is tampering with the rule of law and allowing Scott Roeder -- the man who shot and killed abortion provider Dr. George Tiller -- to be considered for a lesser charge than first degree murder:
The fallout from such a ruling cannot be understated. If anti-choice extremists can justify murdering or physically harming abortion providers because they personally believe that abortion is wrong, then they would be, in effect, above the law.
Rachel, writing at Women's Health News, explains why she believes in a woman's individual right to choose:
I am pro-choice because I believe in women. I believe there are situations in a woman's life that I/the government cannot possibly manage for her, and I believe individual women are the ones responsible for making the best choices for themselves and their families. Not me, not a politician solely interested in rallying the faithful, not a pharmacist who refuses to fill a legal prescription, not an insurance plan that won't cover birth control...not schools and parents who believe that ignorance=bliss and safety, not states who refuse to protect women from the tyranny of the majority...and not those who would refuse to present medically accurate information to women on a whole host of issues. Women. The individual woman in the individual situation. I trust her, and leave her to her choice.
And finally, Stephanie Wolf at the Women's Media Center interviews Sarah Weddington, the attorney who successfully argued on behalf of Jane Roe in the landmark case that made abortion legal. Weddington shares her reaction to the Roe v. Wade decision and what she thinks of the landscape of reproductive rights today:
There were so many problems for women, but one of them, certainly, was the fact that they didn't have their own decision-making ability in terms of reproduction. We thought we had won forever--that women were the ones who got to make their basic decisions, not the government. If you had said to me that 37 years later this will be a huge issue and access will be very much under attack, I would never have believed it.
These are just a few of the many women who know we must not take our reproductive rights for granted, and who realize how important it is that we celebrate what we have -- and call attention to what is being threatened -- with each anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
If you want to share other women's voices that are speaking out for choice on this 37th anniversary, please post links in the comments below.