maarmie's musings

Friday, January 20, 2006

Roe v. What?

My friend, Michael, showed up at my house last night to see if I wanted to go see a speaker at FSU: Sarah Weddington, the woman who, at age 26, successfully argued Roe v. Wade. He said he wouldn't have come to get me, but he didn't want to go alone. I instantly felt so grateful that he's one of my best friends.

Weddington is currently a Texas lawyer and a law professor at UT, Austin. She was eloquent, sincere and intelligent and had a great sense of humor. She spoke for about an hour about the landmark case that changed the world and interrupted her talk only once with a more than benign request that someone in the audience turn off his video camera - still photos only, please.

Roe v. Wade is 33 years old now, and pro-choice advocates around the country grow more fearful by the day about the future of this landmark case. Will Alito take the bench? Will the case be overturned? Will fucking, for women AND men alike, equal a willingness to reproduce?

Not long before Weddington argued Roe v. Wade, it was illegal for people, both married and unmarried, to use contraceptives of any kind, and abortion was legal only for women whose health or lives were on the line in pregnancy. This led to illegal and home abortions and the injury, sterilization and death of countless women. At issue here, says Weddington, is the right to privacy, the same right granted to married and unmarried people who wanted to use birth control - but legally couldn't - shortly before Roe v. Wade was debated among U.S. Supreme Court justices.

While the nation and individual states can regulate safety issues with regard to contraceptives, they can no longer regulate the legality of using them just as the government can regulate abortions but cannot currently deny them. If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, said Weddington, there will be mass chaos.

Let's hope so.


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