I still remember the day in 1973 that the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, the decision that gave women the right to choose an abortion. I was thrilled that women would no longer risk their lives seeking illegal abortions. But I admit I felt anxious and ambivalent. The Supreme Court had acted before the nation had debated the issue. I feared that what the court gave, the court could take away. Still, it seemed like a miracle and I had seen no evidence that Congress had the political will to make abortion legal.
From that day on, opponents of abortion—which included Catholics, evangelicals and funders of right-wing politics—began organizing to repeal the court’s decision. By 1980, Republicans had turned abortion into a powerful wedge issue and for the first time inserted the repeal of the court’s decision into their party platform. Four years later, abortion became a litmus test for every national political candidate.
In her new book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” Katha Pollitt—poet, essayist and columnist for The Nation magazine—reminds us of what life was like before Roe v. Wade and critically examines the abortion wars that followed in its wake. [Read more]
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