I was born Jan. 22, 1973, just a few hours before the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade. My entire life, except for my first few hours and the last couple of days, women in the United States have had the right to end their pregnancies.
This is a fact that I have always known: as pointless trivia in my childhood, as appreciated legislation in my teens (I knew several women who had abortions, and, even in my youth, I could understand how their lives were better for their decisions), and as a treasured right through my adulthood. I have four daughters, all adults now, and two granddaughters. I am now at the age where I can comfortably see great-grandchildren in my future. And I am now trying to grasp the concept that these daughters and granddaughters no longer have the right to privacy that my mother had for the last half of her life.
I was raised a Southern Baptist conservative. What I believe is not drastically different from what my parents believed.
More important than any belief I hold, however, is the belief that, in America, you have the right to live as you see fit. This was always the foundation of any principle I learned. I still teach my granddaughter the mantra daily: “Other people are just as important as you.” Now, sadly, I must also teach her that she is no longer as important as some; her rights are not as valued as others’. America was taught to me as the land of freedom, the home of individuality. That love of freedom, that pride of being an individual now has suffered the first of what I fear are many losses.
In his concurring opinion on the latest case, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that striking down Roe v. Wade should also open up the high court to review other precedents that may be deemed “demonstrably erroneous.” Conservative ideologues have long bragged about the downfall of Roe v. Wade being a beginning. Marriage equality, contraceptive rights, even voting rights are now on the table. (One would assume, of course, that Clarence Thomas will not allow interracial marriage rights to be overturned; odd how the rights that the good justice holds dear would never be deemed “demonstrably erroneous”.)
I have always taught my children that the United States, for all her flaws, stands for freedom: freedom of the individual to make choices on their own (even bad ones), and freedom of opportunity to succeed (or fail). I am very sad that I can no longer pretend that those words are true. And my children are too old to listen to such foolishness anyway.