Jan. 22 marked the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and corresponding abdication of social responsibility. The March for Life and other pro-woman and pro-life groups commemorated the day as they have every year since 1974, with vigils and gatherings across the country and a march from downtown Washington, D.C., to the Supreme Court.
There is much to mourn in this anniversary. The loss of at least a million unborn children (most recent data recorded 1.21 million in 2008) is most prominent. But what this decision says about us as a nation comes in as a strong second: America does not support its women and children. Many abortions are the result of women trying to find their way out of bad situations, whether lack of partner support, no funds, no access to child care, the need to finish school in an environment that’s hostile to parenthood, fear of recriminations - the list goes on.
Post-Roe America doesn’t want to be bothered with someone else’s problems. Cheering on “a woman’s right to choose” is popularly considered an enlightened position, yet there is no greater self-serving sanctimony. In the name of freedom, all responsibility for unplanned pregnancies is laid on the women who carry the children. As Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, told The Washington Times’ Anneke E. Green, “When it’s her body and her choice, it’s her problem.” As the cost of raising a child to age 18 is now $226,920, according to the Department of Agriculture, it’s unsurprising that offering to pay the $350 to $1,000 that an abortion costs could seem to an uncommitted father or extended family like an appealing choice.
Unplanned pregnancy isn’t the actual problem; it’s how to fit it into a woman’s present circumstances and future goals that needs addressing. Making pregnancy a predicament to be fixed ignores the real issues we still confront in America. In her argument before the Court, Roe lawyer Sarah Weddington described how pregnant women were forced to quit jobs, drop out of schools, denied access to financial support and given few opportunities for employment post-pregnancy. She detailed real problems but prevailed in gaining a false and immoral solution that actually harms the very women it was supposed to liberate.
In the intervening years, many pro-women, pro-family practices and laws have been adopted to address the very social ills that Ms. Weddington described. While no longer true that women must quit their jobs or educational pursuits to bear children, these environments are not as flexible as a life-loving society must require. Yet, because many in the pro-choice movement equate information with coercion, the many life-preserving options available to the unexpectedly pregnant don’t get fair play.
As the number of abortions continues to mount, it’s clear we haven’t created a culture and support structures that discourage something so undeniably horrendous. In failing women this way, our nation is culpable in the destruction of life and our own future alongside the woman who “chooses” it.
The Washington Times
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