Roe v. Wade Turns 39, Will It See 40?

I admit I came to the reproductive rights movement a little late, in large part because, like many women my age, I assumed my right to bodily autonomy would always be there. What a miscalculation that turned out to be.

Roe v. Wade turns 39 today and there are some real questions as to whether or not it can make it to 40.  With over 1100 anti-abortion bills introduced at the state and federal level last year alone and with 2012 starting off with an enormous personhood push, women’s rights are under assault like never before.

So now would be a good time to just chill out and not worry about it so much, right ladies?

That’s what Dana Milbank argues, embracing the most predictable form of mansplaining about abortion rights that I’ve seen in a long time. The problem with the abortion debate is that we keep talking about it, says Milbank. The sky is not falling, ladies, so just stop worrying about it.

Milbank’s clumsy attempt to take both the left and the right to task for the “circus” that the Roe v. Wade anniversary has become shows just how little he understands the attacks on choice. Milbank blithely suggests the right needs to stop attacking birth control and comprehensive sex education without grasping, for a second, the reason the right attacks birth control and sex education is equal parts religious dogma and a fundamental belief that women’s only real purpose is to breed.

But Milbank doesn’t really have to acknowledge this truth because he doesn’t really have any skin in the game. This kind of appeal of equivalencies, of suggesting the right’s attack on choice is part of “legitimate concerns” that Americans have about abortion while simultaneously claiming to support abortion rights does nothing, not a thing, to support women.

Sadly, Milbank is typical of the kinds of false allies women have to deal with as we try to hold onto basic rights. If it’s not Milbank’s appeal to a faux-moderation in the abortion debate then it’s progressives on the left supporting Ron Paul, a man who shamelessly peddles his “medical” experience in the form of out right lies (babies in a dumpster but Paul as a mandatory reporter never calls the police–really?) but who progressive embrace because of an anti-war pro-pot platform.

It was friends like these that made me realize I simply didn’t have the privilege to be quiet in the face of the attacks on abortion rights. So on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade my pledge is to make sure Roe makes it to 40.

Who is with me?

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Photo from World Cant Wait via flickr.


Colleen Kendall
Colleen Peters6 years ago

I'm with you 100%

Steve P.
Steve P7 years ago

If you're not the one responsible for carrying the baby then STFU. And if you're a woman and you don't believe in abortion my advice to you is, don't have one. And be prepared to adopt all those unwanted babies and support birth control too. If not, you can also STFU. You can't have your cake and eat it too, you anti-choice HYPOCRITES!!!

Ashley D.
Ashley D.7 years ago

I have to agree with Elaine here: abortion is a violation of a woman as well as a violation of the foetus' human rights; it is a form of control as well as an added pressure over a woman whose personal choice, in many cases, not all - was to have a one-night stand.

Elaine A.
Past Member 7 years ago

Let's pray tell it does end!!! As one side of the Roe V. Wade tag team came to her senses! And the people with morals and appreciate the sanctity of life will take that other half of Roe V, Wade and end it for her! Abortion is so sixties....It's time women to wake the hell up and get real! Abortion has always been a male trick played on you and like so many women, once penile penetration occurs, they become as stupid as a jackass. Abortion was NOT designed for women, period. It was designed to alleviate men from their responsibility in the matter...Wake up women, you not liberated....You're inebriated if you think it was designed for your choice!

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener7 years ago


Diana Ahearn
Diana Ahearn7 years ago

To Anne,

I guess I did not explain myself well enough. My heart goes out to those women who are raped. Those who are raped need to seek immediate medical attention and those who are victims of incest the same. I was not addressing that issue and I apologize for not being sympathetic to those issues.
I was speaking about those who do not take steps to prevent pregnancy and then say oops I do not know what I will do with a baby I guess I will just abort it.

Anne Cole
.7 years ago

Diana A., good luck on teaching morality to rapists. But if you're determined to try, good luck and you better get going, there are a lot of them out there.

Diana Ahearn
Diana Ahearn7 years ago

I believe we should be teaching morality and self-control instead of women's rights. We have a right and responsibilty to prevent conception. Yes I believe life begins at conception. I think more women should take a look at an 10 week old fetus and what the fetus looks like and then deny it is not life.
We go on and on about the horrors of the Holocaust and what happen there well how are we different. We are killing innocent victims that are being denied a chance at life.
I know unwanted pregnancies happen however abortion is not the answer. Those who are choosing abortion suffer for years afterward with guilt and what might have been.
I believe abortion is murder and if we continue down this dark path the next step will be mercy killing of the old, because the old and sick are as much as burden as a baby right?
Please Please think about the right to abortion and the destruction it does to the body and the soul of those that make that choice and the soul they deny a chance at life. No more abortions.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S7 years ago

I don't think you really understand what constitutes "life" Ginny I. It might do you some good to study cellular biology.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

You know, thing is, I am strongly pro-choice. This isn't about controlling my body, if people don't want children, either abstain from sex or use protection.

But, for the fact that rape and incest still exist. For these women, we shouldn't have to go to court to prove innocence before being "allowed" by masculinity to have that abortion. It's the woman's choice. If she didn't ask to become pregnant, no one should tell her she has to have that baby! Same for a woman whose life is on the line. A health concern makes it her choice, and that's just that.

For all the young women out there who need the education, I'm glad we have that in place now, because many a times, this is what saves the young people's lives.

Ginny L. - the abortion wrongs are those who want to give more right to the non-viable life in the womb over the woman or girl who is in no position to go through with it.