Roe v. Wade: Abortion debate remains

By on February 6, 2003

My sister Jessica was the perfect candidate for an abortion. She had won top honors every year for grade point average in her major, physical therapy. By all accounts, she was on her way to great career and a very bright future.

In September of her senior year of college she found out she was pregnant. To complicate matters, her due date was the same as commencement.

I remember where I was when she told me. I remember what I was wearing and exactly what had happened the night before. My roommate and I had gone up to Providence to see P.O.D play at Lupos Heartbreak Hotel the night before.

It was the best concert I had ever been to. After the show, we met the band and hung out with them on their tour bus. Sonny, the lead singer, even autographed his concert sweat towel for me. It hangs proudly framed in my office.

The next night my sister told me she was pregnant. She showed me a tiny black and white ultrasound photo. It looked like a peanut. Then she broke the biggest news of all. She was going to keep the baby. She said she had made a mistake in getting pregnant and she felt that keeping the baby was the best option.

After Christmas break, she moved back home with my parents for the final trimester. On top of being pregnant, she had to go to three different schools to finish her course work and earn her diploma on time. No, it was not going to be easy.

Thirty years earlier, a landmark Supreme Court case gave Jessica the right to have an abortion. The court’s decision in Roe v. Wade upholds the Fourteenth Amendment and protects a woman’s right to privacy. That right extends over the course of her entire pregnancy and she can have an abortion at any time during the said pregnancy.

When the court first addressed the issue of abortion, it was an issue of a woman’s privacy. Today if the court addressed the issue of abortion, it would be less an issue of privacy and more an issue of when life begins. A lot has changed since 1973, especially in the field of medical technology. Today modern medicine allows an infant to be kept alive as early as twenty-six weeks into a pregnancy.

If you take a ride down Interstate 91 South to Yale New Haven Hospital, you will find the world’s first Newborn Special Care Unit. A normal pregnancy lasts anywhere from thirty-two to thirty-six weeks, any earlier and the infant is considered premature.

The Newborn Special Care Unit admits infants as young as twenty-six weeks to receive care. At twenty-six weeks, the blood vessels in the lungs have developed and the infant can be put on a respirator. Before the development of the blood vessels, the lungs cannot transport oxygen to the body.

If you take a ride up Interstate 91 North to the Hartford GYN Center, you will find of the state’s top abortion clinics. If you flash your Q-Card or another form of student identification, you can get a student discount. They offer many services including first and second term abortions. They advertise abortions or referrals up to twenty-four weeks into a pregnancy.

Is it fair to say that at twenty-six weeks an infant has the right to life but not at twenty-four weeks? The answer is unequivocally “no.”

In this county, at the point at which life can be sustained, be it by medical assistance or by a person’s own power, that person retains legal rights, including the right to life.

To argue a person without the ability to sustain life apart from medical assistance forfeits their rights is absolutely absurd. If that were the case, any person who goes into the hospital and needs to be put on a respirator or goes into a coma forfeits their rights as a citizen of this country.

On the contrary, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of people who have been in a coma, protecting their rights, including their right to life.

If today’s Supreme Court ruled on abortion, judging by their past voting record would seem to indicate they would overturn Roe v. Wade. The only remaining judge on the court from the nine who decided Roe v. Wade is William Rehnquist, who today is chief justice.

In 1973, he was one of two justices to vote against the case. His court has ruled consistently conservative. Most decisions come down 5-4 in favor of the traditionally conservative positions. I think in light of the medical advancements and this court’s record, Row v. Wade would be overturned. If it were overturned, I would emphatically support that decision.

Someone once suggested because I support overturning Roe v. Wade I also support back alley abortions with coat hangers. Their argument was if abortion clinics shut down, coat hangers would be the only way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

I am horrified to report, back alley coat hanger abortions still happen today in this country where abortion is readily available on demand. They should never happen but unfortunately, hopeless times call for hopeless measures.

I do not support them or any other non-medical means of abortion. Before you “right” me off as a monster let me clarify my argument.

If the court were to overturn Roe v. Wade a host of social and educational programs would need to go along with the decision. It is unrealistic and fanciful to think that if the case were overturned all the problems associated with unwanted pregnancies would be fixed. I do not represent either Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, rather I am Pro-Responsibility.

When a couple chooses to have sex, they enter into the possibility that they might get pregnant. I do not have a moral objection to a woman having an abortion in the case of a forced pregnancy i.e. rape, incest, etc. In those cases the couple did not chose to accept the possibility of a pregnancy only one person did. However, too many couples with full knowledge of what sex can lead to, use abortion as a means of birth control. This is wholly unacceptable and cowardly.

People need to be accountable for their actions. To say a pregnancy and child rearing will ruin your life is ludicrous. Maybe you should have thought about that before.

Raising a child is by no means easy. To say abortion is a better solution than brining a child into poverty or into a single parent situation, slaps everyone in the face that has ever been in that situation.

It takes resiliency, character, and backbone, throws them out the window, and says circumstances alone dictate reality. People who take that position fail to look at the entire picture.

The reality of the situation is everyday people succeed despite adverse situations. Abortion as a means of birth control must stop.

In case you wondering, on June 7, 2001 my sister had a boy and named him Micah John. The next day I held in my arms and everything seemed right in the world if only for a moment and if only in his eyes.


About Eric Marrapodi