The January 20 edition of “Time” Magazine has an interesting cover story. It suggests that since abortion was legalized by the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, the abortion rights groups have been “losing ever since.” I’m sure it’s an interesting piece. I say that because I still have not read it. Frankly, I don’t read a lot of pieces like this one because I can predict by now what they will say. And, in this case, I’m just not sure how one can make the determination that we are “losing.”
If you are just looking at the hard numbers, such as the number of abortion clinics in the country, you might think we are losing because there are fewer clinics. Indeed, the pro-choice groups always harken to that statistic which says that 78% (or thereabouts) of the counties in the country have no abortion providers. So, yes, there are fewer clinics, especially in some rural areas. But let’s think that through a little. The fact is that the number of women seeking abortion services has also slowly decreased over the years and fewer patients mean that some clinics will not be able to survive. That’s just plain ole capitalism. So, if the number of clinics is decreasing does that mean we are losing? I’m not so sure. Indeed, I consider abortion a very specialized form of medicine and, unlike chiropractors or dentists, there just isn’t an abortion clinic on every corner. In some rural states, women do have to travel to get an abortion but does that mean we are losing the battle?
The “Time” Magazine piece will no doubt discuss the thousands of anti-abortion bills that have been introduced on the state level. Yep, there is a lot going on and by this time just about every state has some kind of law requiring parental consent, a 24 hour waiting period and other insulting measures. And, sure, these are “victories” for the anti-abortion movement but keep in mind that their ultimate goal is to outlaw abortion and they are nowhere near that goal. In fact, they couldn’t even pass that “Personhood Amendment” in the friggin state of Mississippi. It also failed in Colorado. Also on the national level, keep in mind that the anti-abortion folks control the House of Representative, meaning they control what bills they will consider. And John Boehner and his crew would never, ever think of bringing up a national “Personhood Amendment” for a vote because they know it would never become law. And why make your own members walk the plank voting on such a controversial issue when it’s not going anywhere? Also, on the national level keep in mind that with Obama’s re-election, he will certainly have a chance to appoint some more pro-choice justices who will further enshrine Roe as the law of the land.
I’m sure the piece will discuss the polls and how support for “choice” has dwindled a bit over the years. But I’d be really interested in looking very closely at those polls. How was the question asked? Who conducted the polls? I cannot prove it but I still believe that a majority of people in this country, if engaged in a dignified honest conversation, would eventually say that they support some access to abortion services.
So, yes, over the years we’ve taken our hits and access to abortion services might not be what it used to be. But, for the most part, if a woman in this country wants to get an abortion, she can get one. Does that mean that the pro-choice movement is “losing?”
- Roe v. Wade Turns 40 (realclearpolitics.com)
- Has The Fight For Abortion Rights Been Lost? (ideas.time.com)
- Thanks to Team Rape, Most Americans Consider Themselves Pro-Choice Again (jezebel.com)