Friday, February 02, 2007

Responding to Roe

I am unsure of how to respond to Roger Low's column in the YDN yesterday. Low strongly supports a woman's right to choose based on the right to self-determination that I talked about in my recent post on the abortion speak-out; however, he also decries Roe v. Wade as a poor example of judicial decision-making and suggests that it be overturned and, furthermore, that pro-choice advocates should be the ones who attempt to do so.

As a pro-choice activist who participated in the celebration of Roe v. Wade's 34th anniversary, my initial reaction is to disagree with Low's argument. Overturning Roe v. Wade would erase the federal protection of a woman's right to choose and almost guarantee that about half the states in the nation would make abortion effectively illegal. This would be a disaster for women all around the country and a huge step backwards for the women's rights movement. I have to admit though, that I agree with Low's reasoning, even if I disagree with his suggested course of action. I believe that abortion rights are about self-determination, not privacy, and though I am no legal scholar, I have heard many times from those who know more about the law than I do that Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision and thus is particularly vulnerable to assault from the anti-choice movement. I wonder if I should be supporting the ruling, which has long symbolized reproductive freedom, if I know about its weaknesses.

Unlike Low, I believe that there must be a federal law protecting a woman's right to choose; I just don't know anymore if Roe v. Wade is the right legal foundation.

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