Forty years ago today, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. American women of child bearing age today have never known a time when abortion was illegal. Jill from Feministe.com wrote a good piece in the Guardian about it. In the comments, someone accuses the pro-choice crowd of avoiding “the really difficult questions such as : when does life begin?”
No, we don’t. It’s really quite simple. Life begins at birth. Pregnant women don’t get a deduction on their tax returns, can’t drive in the carpool lane alone, and they can’t eat for free at restaurants saying “kids eat free.” Fetal homicide laws are in place because the laws as they were didn’t recognize the termination of a pregnancy (even by violent means) as a homicide. Our society does not recognize life as beginning before a birthday.
The case of Roe v. Wade was argued before the Court on December 13, 1971 and October 11, 1972. At some point before then, the case began in the Court with a petition for certiorari. And even before that there were issues before the trial court and appellate court. We don’t recognize the day Norma McCorvey filed suit as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We recognize today.
Just as the Court mulled over the issues for over a year, so must an egg and a sperm grow in the uterus to become life. At the risk of sounding all over the top or like Sarah Connor from the second Terminator movie ranting about how men like Miles Dyson only know how to destroy and don’t know what it means to create, life is not made when the sperm deposits in the uterus–the woman* creates it. Pretending it doesn’t happen the way it does means that society just lets literally countless children die because they failed to make it to term for some unknown reason. As pointed out in Jill’s piece, if some disease were killing that many born people, we’d want to know why.
So happy birthday, Roe! And thanks!
*Please, I hope no one views this post as anti-trans. I’m not sure what term to use that succinctly describe a person with a uterus.