Thursday, January 31, 2013

40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade has come and gone, it is incredibly important for men and women of all ages to reflect on the current state of reproductive issues, not only in the United States as a whole, but more specifically in Michigan. It is evident through our most recent election cycle, in addition to the passage of Michigan’s House bill 5711, that women’s issues are hanging in the balance. The future of women’s reproductive freedoms requires a committed, mobile, and conscious community that is actively prepared to contest a growing anti-choice sentiment.

As a young university student my experience with reproductive issues surrounding abortion exists solely in a post-Roe world. My perception of the stressed importance of a continued fight against anti-choice sentiment is vastly different from that of a pre-Roe experience. Though all generations of women and men may be aware of the current social climate surrounding woman's health and reproductive issues, our perceptions of these issues have the potential to diverge solely based on the lived experience.

A viable solution? Dialogue. Sharing meaningful life-stories helps bridge the ever-widening gap between those who understand the implications of what is at stake and those who may not have real-world experience relating to these same issues. In my experience, young pro-choice women today may struggle to overcome complacency regarding these issues because the Roe v. Wade legislation is something read in a textbook and the victories of 1973 reside in history. Older generations may better understand the difficulties surrounding life without these victories.

In sharing these stories and engaging in these conversations, young women not only gain appreciation for Roe v. Wade as legislation, but to become conscious to the possibilities of women’s reproductive futures. It is our responsibility to mobilize a truly passionate body of young women, who will be able to emulate an authentic sense of urgency that is truly necessary, as women’s issues are at the forefront of debate. 

Tori Whitworth, NOW Intern