Skip to content

Blog For Choice Day Presents: A Birthday!

Roe vs. Wade is thirty-six years old today! This means that, if it were a person, its friends and relatives would already be talking to it about how it totally should have had a baby by now, don’t you think? Because, you know, time is running out for it and they don’t want it to give birth to a hideous mutant child (which is what happens if you do it after thirty-five, modern medical science wants you to know!) and, you know, they don’t want Roe vs. Wade to miss out or anything. Unless Roe vs. Wade were a dude, in which case people would leave it alone, respect whatever decisions it made, and (in most cases) not even frame its childlessness as a conscious decision, let alone some kind of failure or tragedy.

Roe vs. Wade would not be a dude, however. Roe vs. Wade would pretty indisputably be a lady. Roe vs. Wade would be the girl who tells you, over drinks, that she had an abortion in high school, and that when her friends found out, they stopped talking to her, and that this is why she’s not good at trusting people. Roe vs. Wade would be the girl who went to the “family planning clinic” that turned out to be a an anti-choice center where people showed Roe vs. Wade gory movies, and called Roe vs. Wade once a month, every month, to tell her how old her “baby” would be if she’d had it. Roe vs. Wade would be the girl who went to the clinic for EC and had a lady doctor deny her treatment because said lady doctor “didn’t believe in abortion,” then heard the lady doctor tell her to her face that she “should have kept her legs together.” Roe vs. Wade would be the girl who knows that, even if she technically has a choice, she might not be able to exercise it freely, safely, and without scary repercussions.

Roe vs. Wade would not have felt the condom break until it was all over. Roe vs. Wade would have realized, too late, that the birth control pills were expired. Roe vs. Wade would have had a doctor who forgot to inform her that the antibiotics he’d prescribed for her would make her birth control ineffective. Roe vs. Wade would have looked up stuff on the Internet about how to bring on a late period – Dong Quai extract, megadoses of Vitamin C, all of that hippie goddess nature business – and Roe vs. Wade would have taken them until it became obvious that the period was not “late,” it was simply not going to happen, and then Roe vs. Wade would have gone to the bathroom and cried a little and wondered how to tell her boyfriend something she didn’t even want to know herself.

Roe vs. Wade would keep track of the news. Roe vs. Wade would watch the presidential debates. Roe vs. Wade would wonder how in tarnation Sarah Palin could call herself a “feminist” and then spout nonsensical slogans like “choose life” when the point is that “life,” in Sarah Palin’s fantasy world of the future, would be the only option, and hence not a choice. Roe vs. Wade would watch a man who wants to run her country, the population of which is a little over 50% female, use derisive air quotes around the phrase “women’s health.” Roe vs. Wade would definitely not vote for that dude. Roe vs. Wade doesn’t hate herself that much.

Roe vs. Wade would wonder, however, why even the dude that she did vote for speaks out in favor of limiting her choice and making sure that she exercises her right to choose for the “right reasons,” when, as far as Roe vs. Wade can see, that dude does not possess her biological equipment, and will therefore never need to exercise that option himself for any reason, and will therefore never be in a position to judge or even fully understand the reasons of those who do. Roe vs. Wade would wonder why that dude, whose name is Barack Obama, persists in carrying on the liberal tradition of prefacing his pro-choice statements with statements to the effect that abortion is always no good and very bad and a bummer and should happen less often. Roe vs. Wade would feel obscurely shamed by these statements, and uncomfortable with hearing them from the mouth of a man who wants to represent her, and Roe vs. Wade would not speak up about that except to a very few people, because Roe vs. Wade would have been told nine million times that Barack Obama is going to fix the world and bring hope to the people and take us all to Chuck E. Cheese on our birthdays, and Roe vs. Wade would have been told eighteen million times that everyone else is way worse than Barack Obama and she’s lucky to have a candidate who supports her choice at all.

Later, after Barack Obama had been inaugurated (in a ceremony which prominently featured a man who compared Roe vs. Wade to a Nazi), Roe vs. Wade would wonder when Barack Obama would get around to rescinding the Global Gag Rule and Bush’s most recent HHS regulation, and would wonder at the significance of the fact that those were, respectively, one of the first things that Bush effected while in office and one of the last. Roe vs. Wade would make the mistake of wishing aloud that there were a president who advocated as fiercely and unequivocally for her rights as the last president advocated against them. When Roe vs. Wade did that, she would be called divisive and an extremist and a single-issue voter. Roe vs. Wade would be pretty much used to that – used to being told that her rights don’t deserve to be made central to progressive platforms, even though she and women like her comprise a pretty vital portion of the progressive base, and their votes, organizing time, and support are always fervently courted (or demanded) when the dudes that are her “allies” have something they want to accomplish.

Roe vs. Wade might like babies. Roe vs. Wade might be indifferent to babies. Roe vs. Wade might want to have babies, when she is in a position to give them the care they need. Roe vs. Wade might have babies already, and know that her ability to care for them will be compromised if she has any more. One thing that is for certain true about Roe vs. Wade is that she would have the ability to differentiate between a baby and a pregnancy, and an unwillingness to make one of her body’s involuntary processes the defining factor in her life. For that, Roe vs. Wade would be attacked pretty much constantly, and on all fronts.

Roe vs. Wade would have a lot to deal with, you guys. Which is why we have her back.


  1. Crowfoot wrote:

    That is brilliant. I’m not sure what else I can add – you illustrated thoroughly the ongoing sexism and entitlement of even our supposed allies and champions, both in the larger political sphere and in the personal. And did so in a clever way. Wonderful post!

    Friday, January 23, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  2. Vertigo wrote:

    Yes, this was a very brilliant post, the best one that I have read about ‘blog for a choice day’ (yes, I am a little bit late!).
    I also have enjoyed your blog tremendously. For sure I will be coming back regularly.

    Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink