To the Editor:
I am old enough to remember the time before Roe v. Wade was passed. Almost every family I knew back then had a horror story about some member of their extended family dying from a botched illegal abortion or an attempted do-it-yourself abortion. Just because abortion was illegal in most states did not stop abortions from taking place. It just made them very risky for the health of the person seeking them. We also tried to legislate abstaining from consuming alcohol, and most of us know how that turned out.
I respect the right of anyone to have a strong personal belief that abortion is wrong, and guess what — so does Roe v. Wade! That law does not tell anyone they have to have an abortion, but it does say that anyone who chooses the abortion option has the right to a legal and medically safe procedure. I do not know anyone who has made a decision to abort that has done so without careful consideration of all her circumstance and a great deal of soul searching.
Suppose a group of people that believed anyone on any kind of welfare should not have more children while collecting it got the legislature to consider a bill like this: “If you are already a parent of two children and you are receiving subsidized childcare so you can work, subsidized housing and food stamps because you do not get paid a livable wage, and your children, at least, qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance program, and you become pregnant, this law will require you to either have an abortion or lose all subsidies that you have been receiving to support your family and will not be eligible for any help in the future.”
I ask all of you who want to legislate your personal belief on the rest of us, “would you want that group trying to legislate a choice like I just made up on you?” I can almost hear the outcry, “I don’t want the government, or anyone else, telling me what I need to do. I get to decide what I do with my body. I should have the freedom to choose.”
Well that is exactly what people who are pro-choice believe, what Roe v. Wade supports, and what Dr. Jeanne A. Conry, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Dr. Haywood L. Brown of Durham, Chair of District IV of ACOG, said in the Charlotte Observer on July, 16, 2013:
“… Medical decisions must be based on scientific evidence and made by patients in consultation with physicians, not the state or federal government.
“… ACOG respects our members’ deeply held personal beliefs on abortion. While we can agree to disagree about abortion on ideological grounds, we must draw a hard line against any legislation that threatens women’s health. That’s why we’re setting the record straight for all politicians: Get out of our exam rooms.”
We tried having abortion be illegal and there is abundant data that proves it did not prevent abortion but only made them unsafe. If the legislature was truly concerned about women’s health safety, and not trying to make abortion illegal, they would be working to make sure all women had access to all needed health care based on scientific fact, not political ideology. Make sure all women have access to the correct knowledge and contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the abortion issue becomes mute, and the governor would not have to lie about what he would sign.