Sunday, January 22, 2006

Happy 33rd, Roe vs. Wade

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, which effectively made abortion legal throughout the United States, and enabled women to take charge of their reproductive destiny without the danger inherent in herbal decoctions, knitting needles and coat hangers.

Few decisions have generated such a fuss. Not even the Lawrence vs Texas ruling, which decriminalized homosexual acts, has caused such a ruckus. Over the past three decades, the states and the Federal Government have added or subtracted condition and restrictions on Roe, while leaving the legality of abortion intact. It has stood the test of time and many efforts by right-wing Supreme Court Justices (activist judges!), state legislatures and Federal congresscritters to subvert the basic right enshrined in that decision.

Yes, there is a basic right here - the right to control one's destiny. Women have the same exact inherent right as men to control what they do with their bodies, and I know all the arguments. But isn't getting a vasectomy, or using a condom, or getting one's tubes tied or taking a contraceptive violating "God's Divine Plan?" Honestly, people, don't you think that after two thousand years of steady progress we should finally manage to move beyond that kind of predestinarian nonsense?

Now, if Judge Samuel Alito gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, we might see Roe overturned. Now, what would this do? Well, on both sides we see extremes: One side would hail it as the beginning of the True Millennium on Earth (with all the horrors that implies), while another would mourn a reversal as the resurrection of slavery.

Whatever happens, if Alito gets confirmed, it certainly won't be boring.


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