This post is part of our "What Does Choice Mean to You?" series commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
What do Sarah Palin, the right wing group Focus on the Family, and the
Abortion Care Network have in common? They are all celebrating choice.
As we mark the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Sarah Palin and her
daughter, each holding their babies, smile out at us from the cover of In Touch magazine with the caption, “We’re Glad We Chose Life”. Focus on the Family has committed over $2 million to a Super Bowl ad about a football player’s mother who made her own choice about whether to continue a risky pregnancy.
I’m just wondering why it’s not obvious to everyone that this is what
choice means! For many years those who want to make abortion and birth control illegal have successfully separated abortion from other reproductive choices and experiences. As providers we know that good women have babies and good women have abortions–and that they are the same women. It is time that we name this reality so that everyone can see that celebrating Sarah Palin’s choice, and Pam Tebow’s choice is no different than celebrating the choice of any of the women who come to us for abortion services.
I have been trying to write something powerful and uplifting to honor this January 22. But my heart is heavy as the trial of George Tiller’s murderer begins, shrouded by questions of whether Roeder might be allowed to use his ‘strong belief’ as a serious defense.
Like many of you I watched an old interview with Dr. Tiller on Youtube this afternoon and I found it still hard to believe he is gone. What a cruel waste. Abortion has been braided through most of my life. I can still recall exactly where I was at the moment I heard about the Supreme Court decision. I spent many years in Dallas–some of them trying to give support to a deeply troubled Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) who went on to find the acceptance she desperately needed in the bosom of the antiabortion movement. Flip Benham who is now terrorizing Family Reproductive Health in Charlotte, North Carolina cut his sharp anti teeth on the sidewalk outside my Dallas clinic. I spent time with Sarah Weddington who argued the Roe case as a bright young attorney–her
very first case–and one that changed the lives of millions of women worldwide.
If you had told me that thirty seven years later we would still be
struggling in this way—that doctors and clinic workers would be killed–and that the women who had been helped would be silent, I would not have believed it.
And so, on this 37th anniversary of Roe, I call on us to transform this
conversation. I call on us to stand tall so that the provision of abortion services in the United States is a model of care for the rest of the world. I call on us to ask our patients not just to care about themselves–but, as we do, to care about the women who come after them.
Then we’ll really have someting to celebrate.