Letter to the Editor – Roe v. Wade

Posted By Horizon Staff February 11th, 2013 in Letters to the Editor : 0 COMMENTS

Dear Editor,

While I respect Seth Gruber’s right to voice an opinion regarding Roe v. Wade and the abortion controversy, I think he proffers a view lacking factual information regarding Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose. I will offer factual information from legislation on Roe v. Wade that I found online at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University.

First of all, the class action lawsuit of “Jane Roe” that was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973 challenged the constitutionality of Texas criminal abortion laws. State criminal abortion laws violate the the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects personal privacy, including a woman’s right to reproductive privacy. In this case, a right to privacy means a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.

Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion, leaving regulation during the first trimester of a pregnancy to a woman’s physician and leaving regulation to the State after the point of fetal viability. Roe v. Wade dealt with the question of viability and not of personhood. According to Roe v. Wade, the State can intervene after the point of fetal viability, meaning after the point at which a fetus can survive outside the uterus. As of 1997, 41 states restricted post-viability abortions and 11 states had banned dilation and extraction, which is the procedure mentioned in last week’s article with shock and awe imagery (Franklin Foer, slate.com).

These are the facts about the case. If you want to read them yourself, they are available online at Cornell University’s Legal Information Instutute (LII).

Seth Gruber is not pro-choice. By trying to claim that term and change it into something he wants it to be, Gruber disrespects both women in general as well as those people who do identify as pro-choice. Perhaps, at one point, it meant merely the act of supporting general rights, but the current political climate dictates that the term “pro-choice” signifies those who support a woman’s right to reproductive privacy and her choice regarding her pregnancy. Privacy and choice, by the way, are both protected by the federal government in the 9th (as interpreted through the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th) and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

I am pro-choice. I do not need to justify my position, but I strongly support a woman’s right to privacy and choice regarding the medical conditions of her body, including her potentially pregnant body. I agree with the views upheld by Roe v. Wade and I think that fetal viability is the best way we currently have to regulate abortive procedures.  Protecting choice does not mean supporting “murder” because not everyone believes that personhood begins at conception.

Seth Gruber’s article uses the wrong language to make the wrong statement. He fails to give the facts of Roe v. Wade, denigrates the value of the court case, and refuses to acknowledge the role that the government has played in protecting women’s rights. In a country that ascribes to both freedom of and freedom from religion, it is fundamental that our government’s policies do not force religious ideals onto its citizens.

As Gruber’s article stated, this issue is far too large for one article, particularly if that one article fails to present the facts of the institutions it criticizes. I encourage those who wonder about the legal view upheld in Roe v. Wade to read the open-access documents available at the LII. I would love to discuss the moral dilemmas of and legal justifications behind current abortion policies. I pledge to share both facts and my personal opinion in a courteous manner; I hope that dialogue can prove fruitful.

—Caitlin Postal ‘13

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