Thirty-nine years ago Roe v. Wade acknowledged a woman was the best person to make decisions about her own body, pregnancy and whether or not to choose to have a child within the first trimester. But the decision, lambasted by many conservative politicians, is much more than a ruling that says women will have the right to make their own decisions about whether they have a child. It is a decision that allows women to take personal responsibility that supersedes a state’s attempts to decide for her. It is one of the toughest decisions a woman will make, with life-changing consequences.
With Roe v. Wade, the courts recognized I was best positioned to make the decisions that would impact my life and those that depend on me. The courts recognized women were adults, capable of taking responsibility for the decisions in our lives. However, there are some who want to take away my right to decide whether or not I should go through with a pregnancy. These people who know nothing about my life or who I am want the right to impede my ability to decide for myself if I should give birth to a child. They believe this is a simple “moral issue” that the state should be allowed to decide – a choice based on general information. This is evidently, in their eyes, the same for everyone and as basic as whether something is black or white.
I do not think Roe v. Wade goes far enough in protecting women’s rights. We can chat about that on another day. In the meantime, allow me to remind you that…
1. If I have a baby I am the one who carries it. This means any child I carry is impacted by my health and impacts my health.
2. If I have a baby, I am the one who is responsible for the care of the child.
3. Care for a child is not just about whether or not I can love the child; it is also about whether or not I can be there emotionally, physically or spiritually for a child.
4. Can I afford to take care of the child? Do I have the earning potential to house, feed, clothe and educate the child in a way that does right by them?
5. Having a child ties you to another person permanently. A child wouldn’t be just mine but also the father’s. This decision is not just about me, so apply numbers 2-4 to the father too.
What confounds me is that the same people who want government to decide whether or not I have a child want that same government to stay out of building safety nets for families who need support. If you feel government should promote personal responsibility, but not the funding of community programs, shouldn’t that personal responsibility extend to making one of the biggest decisions of a woman’s life? And if you expect me to be responsible for the child, shouldn’t I be responsible for the decision to have the child?
If you are going to trust me to be responsible for raising a child shouldn’t you also trust me with the responsibility of the decision whether or not to have a child?