By Susie Ling. Posted June 14, 2022
In the leaked draft attributed to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, he writes, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives… Roe was egregiously wrong from the start .” (See footnote #1) The expected ruling could lead to abortion ban in 26 states. (See footnote #2)
Do the Justices think that overturning 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey will now better the status of women and the right to life cause?
In the late 1970s, when I was nineteen, I accompanied a friend to get a legal abortion. I didn’t even know she was not a virgin. I was shocked that she could get the money together as our wallets were usually empty. On our way back to the dorm, she felt so nauseous we had to get off the bus in the middle of nowhere. Then, we had no GPS, no cell phone, no alternatives. My friend went on to finish college, get married, have two daughters, and contribute a meaningful healthcare career. She also got divorced and had a lot of other life – as did I. Over the decades, we never talked about that trip we had taken as immature girls – because I continued to value her right to privacy.
But I never stopped thinking about that abortion either. What should I have done? What would I do if it were me? Of course, it would have been my responsibility and thus, my choice.
More recently, I went to my partner’s 50ish high school reunion. We danced to oldies and joked about the dress code for high school girls back in the day. One of the classmates shared that she never actually graduated because she got pregnant – before 1973. At least she didn’t go into a dark alley to get an illegal abortion as others did before her. At the time of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, women did need more right to control their own body, to control their future, and to control their privacy.
But today, isn’t it different? There are varieties of birth control choices, sex education on Wikipedia, and more life opportunities for girls and women – including single moms.
It should be everyone’s goal to alleviate the need for abortions. According to the CDC, there are about 630,000 abortions a year. In the 1980s, it was near 1.5 million abortions a year. Today, abortions cost about $1500. But did you know that in 38 states, you still need a doctor’s prescription to get birth control pills? Only 24 states mandate sex education in schools. Did you know that women are half the workforce, but still average 80% of male salaries?
All babies are gifts. I want to be pro-life. But why “Pro-Lifers” are not against war, against the death penalty, and for universal health insurance so confuse their message. Why do we not fight for the dignity of trans and LGBTQ+ youth? What about the lives of refugees? How many more school shootings before the ban on assault weapons? What does Alito and the other Justices say about the Constitution’s impact on these urgent right to life issues?
My 1970s girlfriend had to have made the abortion appointment on a rotary pay phone. On this issue of abortion, we seem to stagnate in that 1970s rotary payphone mindset.
Aren’t we all pro-choice and pro-life?
 In May of 2022, Politico published a “leak” of the majority opinion on the case of Dobbs V. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473
(2 )Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “Pregnancy Centers are Posited to Grow with Roe on Brink” L.A. Times, 12 June 2022, A10.
Author’s bio: Susie Ling lives in Monrovia and teaches Asian American studies at Pasadena City College. She was born in Taiwan and raised in the Philippines.