The Pandora effect of Roe v. Wade

By Linda Vega

            The presence of a life, is without a doubt, a miracle.  An unborn struggles, unknown what it means to exists, inside this sack of fluids in the womb.  This unborn is  uncertain about what it is to be alive.  We, as a society, take over its fate as we dictate its future with our laws when we determine when its presence is considered “viable”.  Our laws look to when it is legal to destroy it, or allow it to develop even if deformed.  Our laws give us “permission” to end a life, and create one in order to save another in stem cell medicine.

Before Roe v. Wade (1973) gave women the permission to determine whether or not to medically end their pregnancy in a “legal” way, abortion was being performed illegally by non-medical people.  Women sought to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies with dangerous procedures that oftentimes ended in their own death.  In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court was unable to make considerable ethical arguments for allowing the unborn child any rights; instead, the court argued with the logic that the 14th amendment and the due process clause allowed women the right, to make decisions over their own body.  It argued mainly on the right to privacy and how the laws did not have the power to circumvent this right as it applied to people in the U.S., mainly women.

With that decision, the Court opened a Pandora Box that has been hovering over the U.S. and our social attitude toward life.  In their argument, however, the Court did not carry the argument onto the unborn.   Rather, they shied away from the application citing that the question  of viability and that the due process clause could not protect the rights of a human being, and in this case, a being that was not yet “viable.”  Since that time, the slaughter of lives has been approximately 52 million and counting.

If the ruling had gone against the granting of abortion rights, this would not have stopped  abortion and the numbers of unwanted pregnancies.  After all, as stated previously, women were having abortions performed under considerably dangerous conditions before the Roe decision.  What the ruling in  Roe v. Wade, did was to give permission to the act of ending a life.   The Court never stated that the abortion was good, moral, or just.  It merely stated that abortion could not be dictated to women and therefore, it was legal.

As in many instances where we use our laws to circumvent moral behavior, we find it logical rather than deplorable and use this as an excuse for behavior.  Such is the case in Roe.  For example,  women aged 20-29 between the years of 1999-2008 had the majority of abortions.   The income for these women ranged from $30, 000 to $50,000.  Among the many reasons cited for having an abortion, women stated that they did not know how to handle responsibility to someone else’s life.  They also stated that they did not want an interference with work or school, or the financial burden, followed by having a problem with the current marriage or relationship.  Further studies show that 50% of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25; women aged 20-24 obtain 33% of all U.S. abortions and teenagers obtain 17% (AGI).


Other Studies show that White women accounted for 36% of abortions, while non-Hispanic black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and non-Hispanic women of other races for 9%.  Many of these women, in fact, 45% reported themselves as single or cohabitating with a boyfriend.

The Religious affiliations were high in number among those stating to be of Protestant faith with 37%, while Catholics were at 28%.  Despite these many statistics that I post because the breakdown of the numbers, I feel, would give an understanding for the act, it does not.  It serves little or no understanding as to the mindset of this disheartening behavior.

When women were asked why they were more likely to have an abortion, they stated because of fear.  A fear of disrupting a patterned life, losing a relationship, and the financial addition of another life.  While this is not an acceptable excuse for the abortion, could it be that women are not well informed for this responsibility?  Still, the income level for many of those having abortions do not fall into the poverty level.  While the majority of women having abortions do fall to Non-Hispanic white women, followed by Black women, then Hispanic women, the income level of these groups is still high enough to recognize that the financial burden is a weak excuse.

Moreover, the statistics can be gathered and the blame can be assessed over women.  But so what?  The fear that these women feel is real.  They feel a desperation that cannot be explained and our society does not teach them a “responsibility” to accept the consequences of their actions.  Instead, we craft laws that allow them to act  in the quickest and disheartening LEGAL manner available to them.  These laws are the “permission” that women need to act  upon their fear.


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