Roe v. Wade: More Harm Than Good?

Feb 02, 2010 • Opinion

Suzanne Reisman over at BlogHer had a very thought-provoking piece regarding abortion that we here at Sex and the 405 didn’t think you should miss. An excerpt:

January 22, 2010, marked the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion across the United States. This is not to say that abortion was not legal at all before Roe — it was legal in 1/3 of states before Roe, and it was legal in the US before the Victorians more or less ruined everything with their horrid morality issues. But don’t get me started on the Victorians…

Anyway, for a little while, Roe changed things for women who lived in states that did not have legal abortions. But in the long run, as a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy within a reasonable time frame for whatever reason, I actually think the national legalization of abortion did more harm than good. What it did was open the flood gates to little laws that chipped away at the right to have an abortion so that while abortion is technically legal, it is not necessarily accessible. This keeps most Americans complacent, wondering why pro-choicers are complaining when abortion is legal. At the same time, the protesters remain whipped up in a self-righteous frenzy because abortion is legal, even though abortion services are not available to many women in America.

Consider: The good folks at The Guttmacher Institute* reported that 87% of counties in the US lacked an abortion provider in 2005. Over one-third of American women (35%) live in those counties. As a result, 25% of women seeking abortions in non-hospital facilities travel 50 miles or more, and 8% of women traveled more than 100 miles to exercise their legal rights to a medical procedure. Given that these access issues are most pronounced in states that did not have legal abortion before Roe, I’m not sure how things are so different for women who live in those places today. Legal or not, they still can’t get the services they need.

Read the entire piece here.

Information from BlogHer.