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Jane’s Obstacles - Part 2

Please read Jane's Dilemma - Part 1 first

If you’re old enough to remember the early 70’s, you probably remember bell bottoms, the Bee Gees, and someone who had to get married because she was pregnant. One of my best friends was the smartest person in my class. At the end of our senior year, she was a wife, a mother, and a high school graduate. What she wasn’t was heading to college, like the rest of our group, to pursue a degree, a career, and a world that was beginning to open up with choices for women.

Roe happened a little too late for her and countless others who found themselves in the same position, with a choice between a hurried marriage (which didn’t work out in this case) or a back alley abortion. After 1973, the decision brought choice to those who might have made a mistake in the back of their boyfriend’s chevy and relegated themselves to a youth filled with diapers, Gerber, and dwindling chances for a career.

The Roe decision not only gave women autonomy over choice, but instigated other reproductive breakthroughs. The 70’s saw a rise in birth control pill use, as innovations and improvements made it a popular choice for women. Planned Parenthood was not only a protector of abortion rights, but one of the best disseminators of women’s health information about reproduction and birth control, counseling countless women about methods available on the market.

Not everyone was able to benefit from the growing health care market for women. Abortions weren’t cheap, and legislators made sure that those on Medicaid weren’t eligible to use their insurance for an abortion. So those who could least afford another mouth to feed were most likely to have one. One’s address also dictated how long a woman had to decide whether to abort a pregnancy, as those that protested the idea of any abortion rights kept picking at the scab of time for women in Republican dominated states.

In fact, on April 18, 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the first case that sought to criminalize abortion, making partial birth abortions illegal and narrowing women’s reproductive rights. And women’s rights continue to narrow, completely disappearing in some states after the Dobbs decision in 2022.

“We’re Never Going Back” is a slogan that means something to those who lived when abortions were illegal. It would mean something to our girl, Jane. It should be the rallying cry for all women in this country, as so much is at stake. God forbid that my granddaughter faces the same reproductive restrictions when she becomes an adult in 2038 as I did in 1973.

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