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Hey Government, Stay Out of My Reproductive Organs

Thomas Whitley

Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the historic supreme court decision, Roe v. Wade. President Obama took the opportunity to release this statement:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue -- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

It should be more than a little surprising that the Republican party who consistently says that the government should not be involved in our personal lives wants the government involved in the most intimate of matters: marriage, women’s health, and birth control. From the narrative that Republicans have presented one would think that an apparently “socialist” Democratic president could never express a commitment to less government intrusion in private matters. Nevertheless, it is the Democrats who have consistently stood up for women’s rights (see this decision from Friday) on this issue and the Republicans who have shown their desire to have the supreme court decision overturned.

Further, I would be remiss if I did not note that President Obama’s strategy in this complicated issue is multiform and one that supports women and families at all stages, calling for reduced need for abortions (i.e. better and more available birth control) and especially promoting adoption. Contrary to popular belief not all who support Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose want to see every woman having multiple abortions and using the method as just another form of birth control. Rather, many of us support better health and sex education in our schools, more available birth control, proper care and support when a women is going through the decision making process (and that does not mean trying to guilt her into not going through with an abortion), and a more effective, efficient, and cheaper adoption system here in the US.

Having been adopted myself I know how thankful I am for the adoption process and those willing to sacrifice as much (and often more) than biological parents to be parents to those without. I also know, though, how complicated and expensive stateside adoptions are and while I commend those who choose to adopt a child from elsewhere in the world I also realize that it is often chosen over stateside adoption because the process and cost of adopting a child here are extremely prohibitive.

I am quite thankful that we have a president willing to stand with the medical community and with women and families on this most important of issues. And if you’re a female considering voting for a Republican this November, just remember the control that they want over your body.