The thoughts expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
Sometime this month the Senate is going to vote on whether or not to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Republican Party, in general, thinks he’ll be the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and abortion will no longer be legal in the United States. The Democratic Party is fighting this. But what about the people, the citizens of the United States? How do most of them feel?
This issue is complex. For one thing, abortion only affects women. I can’t imagine a man having one. I think of Kamala Harris’ question last week asking Judge Kavanaugh if he knew of any laws that let the government regulate the male body? He had to stop and think. And, after a very long pause, he said he didn’t.
I remember a time when abortion was illegal in the United States. What did girls, and yes, they were girls—16, 17, 18 or older, do when they found out they were pregnant, unmarried and couldn’t or wouldn’t marry the father? They had what was called a “back alley” abortion or went down to Mexico or used a coat hanger.
Most of these abortions didn’t go well. Usually the person performing the abortion was not a doctor, or if they were, they were not performing the abortion with the latest equipment in a sterile environment. Frequently, later that night or the next day, the girls had to be rushed to the hospital because they were infected or hemorrhaging. Many died, and of those who didn’t, many could no longer have children because of the damage the procedure had done to their internal organs.
Then along came Roe v. Wade. Women and girls could now have safe, legal abortions. Almost everyone lived. There were few infections, few hemorrhages and almost no one died.
So then, did all women, or most women, go out and have abortions? No. Most women don’t want abortions. They want to have children. But they want the option of abortion available for those who do.
Do most women believe abortion should be a nine month choice? Of course not. They want a time limited option available in which a woman can have a safe and legal abortion. After that time is up, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, like the life of the mother is at stake, abortion would no longer be a possibility.
I’ve participated in many conversations between women who are very liberal, very conservative and in between. After a while, we were always able to come up with reasonable limits, while at the same time keeping the option of abortion available for those who need it.
In recent surveys, 35% of Republicans, 60% of Independents and 75% of Democrats* want limited, legal abortions available to everyone. Almost no one wants to go back to the old days of “back alley” abortions and all the dangers they entailed.
Where do you stand on this issue? What do you think? How does your position on this issue affect how you feel about Brett Kavanaugh being nominated to the Supreme Court? Are you in favor or against his nomination and why?