In 1973, the World Trade center opened its doors, synthetic fabrics were a must, the Watergate hearings were televised, Adrien Brody was born, and abortion was legalized. Today, on the 35th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, the cultural pendulum has shifted rightward (according to L.A. Times contributors Francis Kissling and Kate Michelman, "Twenty years ago, being pro-life was déclassé. Now it is a respectable point of view"). According to a Pew poll, 22% of young adults favor a total ban on abortion, 87% of counties have no abortion provider, and pro-life teenagers are "spiritually adopting" fetuses and telling LA Times reporters, "I feel like we're all survivors of abortion."
Uh, right. The harsh reality, however, is that if access to abortion is further imperiled, the women who will truly suffer are the poor, not teens from Philadelphia suburbs with median incomes of $90,000. And although this is not a new revelation, several women have published specific anecdotes underscoring that point. Activist and Radcliffe fellow Kissling also writing in Salon, tells the story of Rosie Jimenez, a woman who died from a back-alley abortion in 1978 because Medicaid funds for abortions had been cut off. The botched abortion had caused an "infection that had turned her skin a dark greenish brown and caused blood to seep from her eyes." Rural women are affected deeply, too. Erica Sackin relates a story about a friend who " had to drive 15 hours and two states out of small-town Texas to an abortion clinic — a clinic that has since closed." Here at Jezebel we shared own stories of abortion, and asked you to share your own, in the hopes of lessening the stigma attached.
The message to be gleaned from today's anniversary is that the fight for our reproductive rights is not something that languishes in the distant past. It's a battle being waged every day by embattled abortion providers in Albuquerque who will only speak anonymously to the Washington Post about "Miffy" or mifepristone, the abortion pill, for fear of local retribution. An abortion ban is such a feasible reality that the NARAL pro-choice organization has developed a map showing which states are likely to outlaw abortion if given a chance to. (What would happen in your state?) On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and, in an election year with several geriatric Supreme Court judges on the verge of retirement, the least we can do today is remember that our reproductive rights aren't something to be taken for granted.
Abortion's Battle Of Messages [Los Angeles Times]
Anti-abortion Cause Stirs New Generation [Los Angeles Times]
Voices: A Real Anniversary Present [Metro]
Roe, 35 Years Later [Salon]
As Abortion Rates Drop, Use of RU-486 Is On Rise [Washington Post]