Today we celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions nationwide. But after several years of watching states systematically chip away at this right, we have now reached a point where American women could soon lose the right to decide on their own reproductive health care….and so much more.
For women my age, abortion has been legal all of our lives. And it truly makes no sense to me why so many in this country are so determined to take that right away. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade did so much more than just granting the right to legal abortions. This one ruling opened doors to personal, professional, cultural, and economic freedom for American women.
The year before abortions became legal less than 44% of women participated in the work force. That number is now nearly 60%. In 1972 only 11% of young women graduated from college. Today 38% of women have college degrees. And women are now the main or only source of income in 40% of American households.
It’s remarkable actually when you think about all of the things that women have accomplished over the past 43 years. And many of those accomplishments can be directly attributed to the fact that women have had control over their reproductive health choices. But as great as those accomplishments may be, if the right to legal abortion is taken away all of the great strides made by women over the past several decades will be stopped dead in their tracks.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could want their daughters and granddaughters to have fewer rights and options than they did, but there is an entire neo-Con movement in this country that wants that very thing.
7 out of 10 Americans now support a woman’s right to choose, but over the past 43 years, anti-abortion neo-Con politicians have passed well over 1,000 restrictions on abortions. States and counties continue to chip away at abortion rights by hiding behind shams claiming to care about health and safety of one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. And, since Roe, the Supreme Court has ruled on several other abortion cases where it has continued to limit abortion access.
But make no mistake, the goal of anti-abortion neo-Cons is not merely to take away a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. It is also to rewind the advancements of women. By stripping away self-empowerment they are also removing many contributions made by women to society as a whole.
This spring the SCOTUS will be hearing the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (H.B.2) Basically in this case, anti-abortion neo-Cons in Texas want to impose many unnecessary, burdensome regulations on abortion providers. The objective is to close down as many clinics as possible and to make abortion care much more expensive and difficult to obtain.
If H.B.2 goes into effect, the entire state of Texas will be left with only 10 abortion clinics. And this decision will have rippling effects all across the country.
It is no coincidence that many of the people who believe women should not hold the highest positions in politics, business, or academics are the same people who want to take away a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. And it is also no coincidence that when you limit access to abortion, you limit access to both personal and professional empowerment.
Not all women will have abortions. Not all women would even consider an abortion. But simply having the choice gives women reproductive freedom which ultimately means economic freedom.