Today is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that made abortion legal in the United States. It’s a day to mark and celebrate our current reproductive freedom. It’s a day to think about the thousands upon thousands of women who died in back-alleys because they weren’t yet ready to have children. It’s a day to think about what Roe means to you.
Having been born more than a decade after Roe, it never meant much to me other than in the abstract – women in the United States, including me, could take control of their reproductive lives and I was happy for it. That’s how many women of my generation feel. But Roe suddenly took on much more meaning for me on an ordinary day at a nondescript Mexican restaurant when my mother told me she had gotten an abortion.
My white, middle-class, middle-of-the-road mother had an abortion? I was shocked. When she told me the details – that a few years after she and my father had their very-much-wanted children, she had accidentally gotten pregnant while on a prescription medication that caused harm to a fetus and the fetus wouldn’t have been able to live outside the womb – all of the sudden, keeping abortion legal became very personal and very real.
I wish more mothers would tell their daughters or their sisters or even the men in their lives about their experiences with abortion – it makes us, all of us, realize just how important legal abortion is. For me, in the short term, it’s made my mom and me closer; I know that if I was ever in a similar situation, she would be a source of support for me, important information for any daughter to know. In the long-term, it’s solidified my already strong support of Roe v. Wade and made me want to fight for and keep reproductive rights in this country so that women can make the choice that’s right for them.
In a world where more than half of abortions are unsafe and women are still dying every day in those back-alleys, give a little thought to what you can do to fight for Roe v. Wade. Sign up for Planned Parenthood’s action alerts; donate a few dollars to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or Emily’s List; support a friend in her time of need.
Abortion is a safe, outpatient, and legal procedure in the United States – and it needs to stay that way.
(Today’s blog is a part of NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day. FYI: Tomorrow’s post will be talking about one of those women in one of those back-alleys around the world.)