Viewpoints: Looking back at landmark Roe V. Wade decision

Opinion writers reflect on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision regarding abortion.

Politico: The Sad Legacy Of Roe v. Wade
Since I entered the working world as a nurse more than 40 years ago, women have broken through unthinkable barriers. Today, more women than men are graduating from college; a record number of women are serving in Congress; and the percentage of businesses owned by women is fast approaching 50 percent (Rep. Diane Black, 1/22).

Kansas City Star: Roe V. Wade Ruling Still Worth Honoring
Forty years ago today, a U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteed women the qualified constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. Over the decades, that right has been fiercely opposed and defended in courtrooms, on the streets and in state legislatures. Yet it survives, and must continue to do so. An America in which women are denied the right to make the most essential decision regarding reproduction is unthinkable. Thirteen years after the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, a Missouri case revealed a turn on the Supreme Court. The 5-4 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services decision upheld a state ban on using public facilities and employees for performing abortions (1/21).

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Success Story Known As Roe Vs. Wade
Twenty years ago I appeared in the film Motherless: A Legacy of Loss from Illegal Abortion, talking about the history of abortion. The 28-minute documentary, embedded above, profiles three women and one man whose mothers died of complications from abortion before its legalization. The film also includes the testimony of a former chief physician at Philadelphia General Hospital recalling the 32-bed ward for women being treated for what he called "botched, criminal abortions." Surprisingly, the film is still being used in classrooms, and its message -- that the legalization of abortion following the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision saved women's lives -- is still relevant. Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that found a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Janet Golden, 1/22).

Oregonian: Roe V. Wade Anniversary: Keep Abortion Safe And Legal
It was 40 years ago today that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in the historic Roe v. Wade case. This landmark ruling affirmed that the constitutionally protected right to privacy includes every woman's ability to make her own personal medical decisions, without the interference of politicians. Four decades later, a majority of Americans still agree with the high court: Personal health care decisions should be left up to a woman. None of us can understand a woman's specific situation. We don't walk in her shoes. … Undoubtedly, voters made it clear in 2012 that they are opposed to policies that demean and dismiss women (Laura Patten, 1/22).

The New York Times: Better Reporting For Abortions
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, Americans seem to be traveling in opposite directions on abortion. The Democratic Party's latest platform opposes "any and all efforts to weaken or undermine" legal abortion. On the other hand, the last two years saw the adoption by state legislatures of the highest number of laws regulating or restricting abortion in decades (Charles A. Donovan, 1/21).

The New York Times: Leeches, Lye And Spanish Fly
What is most striking about this history of probes and poisons is that throughout all recorded time, there have been women so desperate to end a pregnancy that they were willing to endure excruciating pain and considerable risk, including infection, sterility, permanent injury, puncture and hemorrhage, to say nothing of shame and ostracism. Where abortion was illegal, they risked prosecution and imprisonment. And death, of course (Kate Manning, 1/21). 

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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