Blogging for Choice: What Roe v. Wade Means to Me


Posted on January 22, 2012 by

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.)

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4 thoughts on “Blogging for Choice: What Roe v. Wade Means to Me

  1. PolyPocket

    My mother, too told me about an abortion she’d had, but it was when she was an early teen, with my father. Sharing her story with me deepened our relationship, as I was able to see her not only as my mother, but as a women with a vulnerable past.

    Last year I found out my great-grandmother died during a “back ally abortion” after already giving birth to 8 children.

    Roe saved my mother’s life… and mine.

    1. Eleanor Post author

      Thanks for sharing your story and how deeply sad about your great-grandmother. The rhetoric always makes it sound like it’s a divisive issue, but I think it actually brings women closer together; particularly because we all know what the alternatives are. -e

  2. anony mouse

    My Catholic mother was pregnant with my sister when she got ran over by a beer truck. She had to get skin grafts from one leg to the other, and was in the hospital until she gave birth.

    That was about 30 years ago. Spectators who saw it, all agreed that she lifted the truck off of her stomach. Doctors claimed that she must have, because the tracks weren’t on her belly, but resumed on her shoulder. The local newspapers called it a miracle.

    She was in terrible physical shape because of the accident, and the doctors suggested that she have an abortion on multiple occasions. But she waited it out until further tests could be done, and finally decided against it. She decided to go without any pain medications for the duration of the pregnancy. She was happy to have the choice.

    A little less than a decade later, my father was in a terrible accident, involving a chemical spill. His hands were badly scarred from the accident, and when he got my mother pregnant shortly after, the baby was deformed. Doctors suggested it was due to the chemical spill. Despite my mother’s Catholic upbringing, and despite the political stigma of abortion in the 80′s, she decided to to do it this time.

    She said that it would be best decision for the family. She was just a waitress, and my father was just a cook. They couldn’t have afforded a special needs child, and they didn’t think that the state would be able to care for one either. She was happy to have a choice in the matter.

    A couple of years later, they decided to have another child, and I was born. They had all of the resources to take care of me, and I lived a happy, healthy life. Abortion is a difficult personal decision for mothers to make. And it It needs to remain a personal decision.

    I have never met a high-ranking politician. I refuse to believe that any of them would have made a better decision from their lavish offices, pertaining to my mother’s health, than she did. We need to make sure that Women, like my mother, never have their ability to make decisions about their body taken away.

    That is why I Stand With Planned Parenthood.

    1. Eleanor Post author

      Thank you so much for sharing your and your mother’s story. Your mother sounds like such a strong woman! We so appreciate your support. -e

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