Keep your hands off my penumbra

Mon, January 22, 2007


Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Today, with the 34th anniversary of the uber-controversial Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, increasing numbers of ultra-conservatives are taking up the fight to have it’s ruling — that state laws prohibiting abortions violate a woman’s constitutional right to privacy — be overturned.

My opinions about abortion have remained pretty much unchanged since the 1973 Roe decision.

As a young adult in the late ’70s and early ’80s, trying to juggle two or three jobs, a full college classload and an unstable husband (now ex-husband), I hoped and prayed that I would not find myself pregnant or that I would ever have to make a decision about what to do about an unwanted pregnancy.

But I felt safe knowing that, even with the precautions of birth control, that if one little sperm got through, the government would not be able to intrude in my personal decisions about my body, whatever I decided.

As I think about the Roe anniversary today, though, I realize that the thing that scares me about its potential demise is not just the impact on the abortion issue. The bigger question is this:

What would happen to my penumbra?

If Roe disappears, it’s not just a woman’s right to choose that will be at stake.

I don’t like to admit it, but I take that umbrella of privacy rights for granted sometimes — the one that allows me to have access to birth control, to be secure in the privacy of my home, and a myriad of other protections that have evolved in our jurisprudence.

We live in a country today with a President who has no problems authorizing eavesdropping on our phone calls, opening our mail, or suspending habeas corpus rights.

One by one, the privacy protections we’ve come to expect, and collectively assume are sacrosanct, are disappearing.

If our lawmakers and courts continue down the very slippery slope of dismantling or reversing Roe, we have to ask ourselves, “Which right will be next?”

As I’ve often said, if you don’t believe in abortion, then don’t have one.

But I’d prefer if others would keep their hands off my penumbra of rights — you just never know when you’re going to need that umbrella.

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12 Responses to “Keep your hands off my penumbra”

  1. Kelley Says:

    The only time I’ve ever marched on Washington was for NOW/NARAL’s March for Freedom of Choice. I agree: If you’re against abortion, don’t have one. It blows my mind to think that there are so many people who believe they have the right to make that choice for another woman. Can you imagine how quickly this issue would disappear if men could get pregnant?

  2. Sandra Says:

    Right on. I think it’s pretty clear, that basic birth control will be the next item under heavy attack if we don’t hold on to Roe.

  3. Andrea Says:

    Here’s the thing: no one WANTS to have an abortion. It’s a decision that eats at those forced to make it. It’s not like a trip to the mall for a new pair of shoes. So the woman making the choice is most likely going to weigh all her personal options. I so agree that if a woman is opposed to an abortion, then she can choose not to have one. But I can’t stand that those women think it’s okay to tell the Freedom of Choice supporters what to do with their own bodies. We’re in serious trouble if Roe is reversed.

    BTW, here from Caught in the Draft.

  4. Lawyer Mama Says:


    I think I love you, PM!

  5. Flybunny Says:

    High Fives PM!!!!!

    With each passing year, I get more worried about my civil liberties that are slowly being sucked up in the name of protecting our country from terrorism.

    I am scared for my children that by they time they are grown that someone will be making those choices for them and that thought keeps me up at night!

  6. Sornie Says:

    I am a huge supporter of the right to choose and the fact that it was almost lost in conservative South Dakota means that nobody is afraid to at least *try* to reverse Roe V Wade — 2008 cannot come quickly enough.

  7. Queen of the Mayhem Says:

    I agree with you on this. ( Wait, did I just write that? Hee-hee) Personally, I do not agree with abortion. I find it morally wrong. Having said that, I do not feel it is MY ( or anyone else’s) place to make that call for another person. Being a public school teacher, I have seen the results of unwanted children had by unprepared, uneducated, unmarried, unfit mothers. Not that any of these children did not deserve to be born, but they did start with a HUGE disadvantage in life. Unfortunately, one that many never are able to surpass. Very insightful post!

  8. PunditMom Says:

    Thanks for all your thoughtful comments (and for the humor, Queen of Mayhem!)

    I know I would have struggled terribly if ever I had had to make this decision for myself. I’m not sure I could have done it.

    But I don’t like the idea of the government telling me what I can and can’t do regarding my body, and that’s why I think it’s important that the ruling in Roe be protected.

  9. Pecos Blue Says:

    I agree for sure.

  10. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    I raise my cervix in solidarity. And my uterus too. Now if some people would just keep their politics out of my private parts we wouldn’t have to keep having this discussion. Sigh. Someday.

  11. Devra Says:

    You know that confidence that you sometimes can’t find? I’m coming to your house and searching your sofa cushions. I bet it’s in there and I am gonna find it for you.

    As for the penumbra, I’m with you on that. I want to be able to carry that umbrella everywhere, even if I’m not the one out walkin in the iclement weather!

  12. CrankMama Says:

    Amen, sister!!

    Thanks for pulling me out of my Daniel Craig haze.

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