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.