Paul Ryan was asked during the Vice-Presidential debate if women should worry about the continued ability to have a legal abortion. His answer was basically, yes, women should worry.
During last night’s debate President Obama reminded us that Mitt Romney has pledged that one of his first acts if elected will be to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Romney said nothing last night to show that either he or Republicans as a whole have changed their continued attack on women’s reproductive freedom. Women need to be very worried.
I remember when abortion was illegal. Every teenage girl I knew was worried about getting pregnant. For the girls who did become pregnant, their lives their dreams their hopes were essentially over if they didn’t do something. And many did.
Until after the Roe v. Wade decision there was no safe legal way to have an abortion in the U.S. and not all the young women or girls who in desperation tried to end their pregnancies survived their attempts. There were some lucky ones of course, but few were left unscarred by the things they swallowed or poked in themselves. The richer girls were sent away – somewhere. Some came back. Some didn’t.
My cousin who was a doctor during those days told me of the many young women who showed up in hospitals with septic “spontaneous miscarriages.” About the fevers and blood and infection that stole their lives or left them unable to bear children.
For those who say well they shouldn’t have had sex then. Just say no. That was not then nor now in fact possible for all girls and women even here in the USA.
Back when safe legal abortion wasn’t there as the final desperate backstop, even for those of us who never became pregnant unexpectedly, the very possibility warped every decision and plan for our lives. What career could a woman really pursue if she had no control over her fertility?
Even nowadays for women who can afford birth control – which doesn’t always work – with the best planning in the world one’s life can still be suddenly turned upside down.
Is this really what we want for ourselves and for our daughters? The fear and constricted lives, the maiming and deaths of young promising women. Do we want to go back to that ugly ugly reality? Remember, no matter how pretty the packaging, if the Republicans win big, we just might.