Readers have been asking me about the history and the implications of the Roe versus Wade controversy we’ve been hearing so much about. They’ve also asked me what my own opinion is regarding its outcome. I told them I’d do my best to explain. Here goes…
Back in 1969, a 25-year-old single woman called Norma McCorvey (under the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’), challenged the criminal laws forbidding abortion in the US state of Texas. Pregnant with her third child, Ms McCorvey claimed she had been raped. However, as her case was rejected, the woman was forced to give birth.
Fast-forward to 1973, when Ms McCorvey’s appeal reached the US Supreme Court, where it was argued that the laws regarding abortion went against the Constitution of the US for the simple reason that they infringed a woman’s right to privacy. Defending that anti-abortion law was one Henry Wade, hence the now famous Roe versus Wade case.
Roe’s victory meant that women were afforded the right to a termination in the first three months or their pregnancy. There would be ‘some’ regulations ‘imposed’ on the second trimester, with restrictions or a ban to be enforced in the final trimester. However, if doctors certified a termination was necessary for a woman’s health, or to save her life, then she could obtain one. That’s the history bit.
Now for the implications! By overturning that decision last Friday, the US Supreme Court has robbed women of that right, with individual states now being allowed to do what they like – as in they can outlaw abortion by imposing draconian measures, or they can permit it. Put simply readers, the sword of Damocles, which has been hanging precariously over the heads of the women of America, has finally fallen hard. I’m sure that the members of that sneaky, insidious, hypocritical and exploitative anti-choice brigade who ‘only want what’s best for women’ but who really want to break and batter us into submission, are, this week, jumping for joy.
At this point, may I mention that being vegan, I believe all sentient beings, both human and animal, deserve to be loved, respected, and above all protected. This means, that yes, I am pro-life. However, as someone who grew up in a patriarchal, misogynist Ireland where women weren’t trusted enough to use contraception and make our own choices – and because no situation is ever black and white – I am, always have been, and always will be unequivocally pro-choice!
Why? Because I believe that the bodily autonomy of all women is of major importance, and besides, who am I to inflict my will upon another human being? Who am I to stand in judgement of another woman? Who am I to deny any woman a ‘solution’ to her very personal heartbreaking crisis?
To that end, in 2018, when Ireland unanimously voted to repeal the eighth amendment to our constitution, despite being pro-life, I breathed a sigh of relief for the simple reason that I believe it’s morally wrong for us as a nation to pit the lives of mothers against those of their unborn babies. While in my heart, I will always find it difficult to come to terms with ending the life of an unborn infant, in my head, I cannot and will not ever condemn any woman, nay, punish or criminalise her, for making the heart-shredding choice to end her unplanned or her crisis pregnancy.
I believe that every woman, irrespective of how she became pregnant, should have a right to access safe abortion services and care should she need it, and I’m glad our country provides for that.
However, while I will always advocate and stand together with women (and with children), I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a small part of me that worries (just a tad) that access to abortion may, for some small minority, be potentially used and abused as a quick-fix, convenient solution. It’s for this reason I’m so glad that, as part of the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022-2023, our country will provide free access to contraception for women between the ages of 17-25. I will add though, while this initiative is ground-breaking, eradicating unplanned pregnancies is not going to be as simple as handing out the pill or the coil because sadly, the reality for many young girls and women will be so much more complex than that.
It’s time these banner-brandishing, bible-bashing anti-choice folks stopped demonising women and womanhood, stopped enforcing the bias that we’re the problem, and stopped turning pregnancy into a criminal offence. No woman should ever be forced to submit her body to a pregnancy she’s unable to carry for whatever reason, and most especially not if that reason is due to medical issues such as an ectopic pregnancy or genetic conditions, etc.
It’s a sad day for women when a threat-to-life decision regarding her situation is made for her by legislators rather than by herself and her medical professionals.
Mandatory health warnings on alcohol? I’ll drink to that!
I love a bit of alcoholic fortification, especially at the weekend – and sure why not? I believe I deserve it! I won’t go into detail readers, but given the week I’ve just had, it was my opinion that diving head-first into a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was the only way I would save my sanity.
I didn’t even bat an eyelid when I read that, under the provisions of the draft Public Health Regulations 2022, we’re to be subjected to ‘mandatory warning labels on alcohol products’ and ‘notices in pubs’ alerting us that wine, beer and spirits could cause us liver damage and other health issues, etc.
Mind you, as our occasional tipple can prove to be both a tonic and a toxin, as adults, we have a right to make informed decisions around whether or not we decide to indulge. I’d say our government’s move to place ‘mandatory’ warning signs on bottles is a positive one. In fact, I’ll drink to it!
That being said, these warnings (necessary though they may be), will not stop a moderate drinker (and moderation is the key word here) like me lunging for my weekend pick-me-up. Why? Because dear readers, I believe in taking the ‘bore’ out of Bordeaux. That means instead of spending my weekends as the clichéd menopausal woman who takes up cross-stitching cardies for her grandchildren, I’ll instead be unwinding with my favourite tipple. Sláinte!
Please stop shaming people for wearing their face masks
Given that latest statistics are telling us a ‘fresh mutation of the Omicron variant’ has made the coronavirus ‘more transmissible than it once was’, it’s my intention, and my right, to continue to wear my mask every time I enter a public indoor space. It’s kind of become my security blanket if you like.
You see readers, while we’re definitely making positive strides in combatting this virus, the pandemic is certainly not over, and those who judge or try to shame cautious people like me need to know their nasty comments could be having a harmful effect on those who’re vulnerable. Not on me – personally I don’t care what you think.
The fact that someone chooses to wear a mask doesn’t impact in any way on the freedoms of those who’ve decided to bin theirs. Therefore this week, I’d like to take the opportunity, if I may, to ask the pair of ignoramuses I witnessed eye-rolling, giggling, and menacingly staring at a mask-wearing senior couple in a local supermarket to grow up and show a bit of respect and tolerance. Better still, next time, try rolling those eyes and aiming those immature remarks at me and let’s see how it all works out for ya!