I went to High School before Roe vs Wade was passed. I distinctly remember listening to a conversation between classmates after finding out that one of them was pregnant. Revealing it to her parents was unthinkable. Confessing it to the priest would lead only to shame and judgment. In her world, the only viable option was to end the pregnancy somehow.
They discussed the options, including how to use a wire coat hanger, to end the pregnancy. In the end, this young woman and her friend decided on a plan to go to a clinic that they had heard about in another state. The pregnant girl would tell her parents that she was going to a slumber party at a friend’s house. That friend would cover for her if the parents called to check. And another friend would drive her across the border to a clinic where a doctor performed abortions for desperate young women.
I am assuming it was a doctor. I am assuming it was a clinic.
It is this kind of scenario, repeated hundreds or thousands of times, that led to support for legalized abortion. Yet women today still face the decision so many have faced since the beginning of time. The technology has gotten better but the choice has not gotten easier. Passing laws that restrict funding, or making abortion illegal, will not stop abortions. It will only stop safe abortions. Harassing and shaming pregnant women as they consider their options only adds to the profound difficulty of their decision.
Our greatest ally in reducing unwanted pregnancies is family planning. My great-aunt Zebbie Schall co-founded the Columbus chapter of Planned Parenthood. She instilled in me a great respect for the work of the organization and the role of family planning in supporting equality for women and giving them control over their own destiny in a world controlled by men. This experience inspires me to work towards protecting funding for Planned Parenthood and the programs it offers which serve tens of thousands of women and families in Ohio.