Friday, January 18, 2008

Roe, Roe, Roe V. Wade

Because I am a childless 42-year-old woman, most people assume that I have had several abortions. Why else would I be a childless 42-year-old woman?

The answer, if you must know, is none. No abortions. Zero. Nada. Zip. The only morning after pill I've ever taken is extra strength Tylenol.

I feel fortunate it's a decision I never had to make. For me-- but, sadly, not for all women-- the choice would have been gut-wrenching. (I can't even choose between Original or Extra Crispy at Kentucky Fried Chicken, so ordinary choices for me are gut-wrenching.)

I had no idea that back in the '80's, when many of my contemporaries were apparently ending their pregnancies, that abortion was all the rage. According to a recent study from the Guttmacher Institute, the only folks who didn't love the '80's were fetuses.
In the early 1980s, nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women chose abortion. The most recent data show that proportion is closer to 1 in 5.
I'm not technically a Pro-Lifer, but 1 in 3 sounds frighteningly high and 1 in 5 doesn't sound much better. In an age where you can get birth control pills at Walmart, shouldn't that number be 1 in 1000?

I suppose I look at abortion a little differently because I almost wasn't born. My dear departed mother once admitted to me that she was not initially happy about her pregnancy. Then, one day, she started to miscarry. The doctor told her she could either lose the baby-- which is what she claimed she wanted-- or take medication (diethylstilbestrol or DES) and save me. She took the drugs and here I am. I was born seven years prior to Roe V. Wade. I'm not sure what choice my mother would have made earlier in her pregnancy had legal abortion been an option.

So, while I may not have completely bought into the idea that life begins at conception, I do know that if the process is allowed to continue, out pops a baby who one day grows up to be a blogger by day and a standup comic by night.

I wonder what this country would be like if all those now-twentysomethings would have been born? The abortion rate would probably be back to 1 in 3.

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