Roe v. Wade decision still divides 40 years later



It's 1972 and Jane Roe, a woman in need of medical attention, feels she has nowhere to turn. Feeling she needs an abortion, her only option is to do it in secret. After a dangerous procedure, Roe is forced to live with the physical and mental pain and carries on in secret.

That is until Jan. 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided on Roe v. Wade. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that a woman's right to privacy includes a right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

In the 40 years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, a culture war of sorts has been fought by advocates on both sides of the issue, often having a huge impact on politics on all levels.

Last year's U.S. presidential race between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney saw abortion and related women's health issues, primarily birth control and health care coverage, at the center of attention.

In addition, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill last December that regulates abortion clinics as hospital waiting rooms and requires doctors to make sure the woman was not coerced into having an abortion. Proponents of the law, which passed with support of Republicans in the state Legislature, say it increases safety in the state's clinics, while opponents, including state women's advocate groups, say it restricts a woman's right to choose.

The issue of abortion, which has deep political, philosophical and religious roots, has been at the center of American discourse for a while, and it appears it will continue to be.

At Central Michigan University, some students are aware of the controversy of this topic but are unfamiliar with the details.

Troy freshman Ryan Turek said he is uninformed of the legislative acts behind abortion.

"I just know it's a big controversial issue right now," Turek said.

Caro freshman Elise Pelletier said Roe v. Wade has given women a safe outlet to make the choice that is right for them.

"As a woman, I like to know that there are options available to me as well as to other women, if any of us ever end up in that type of situation," Pelletier said.

However, Nunica freshman Ashley Boroff said Roe v. Wade essentially allows for "murder."

"I do not support (Roe v. Wade) because I believe that when the egg and sperm unite, it's a baby. It's human, so it's murder," Boroff said.

Southfield senior Damon Harris said he does not believe the right to choose abortion will be made illegal, despite challenges from pro-life opponents.

"With so many people fighting for so many different rights and so many different bills getting passed, we have taken a more liberal stance on policies," Harris said.

Pelletier agreed with Harris, saying she didn't think abortions would ever be made illegal.

"I think that it is really controversial, but while there may be some laws to make it a safer practice, I don’t think it will get to the point abortions are illegal,” she said.

Boroff said she does not agree with going back in time, but she does not support the right to choose either.

"There's no way to stop it; people are going to choose what they are going to choose regardless," Boroff said.


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