|Abortion rights resurface after Roe vs. Wade anniversary|
|Written by Erin Hogg, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Wednesday, 26 January 2011 21:00|
As the 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade passed this Saturday, anti-abortion activists gathered in the District of Columbia to protest such laws concerning government involvement with abortions.
Roe vs. Wade was a controversial Supreme Court decision that allowed women the right to choose to have an abortion in their first trimester of pregnancy, as protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to privacy.
Politics surrounding abortion laws are heating up as the House of Representatives is in a Republican majority and two bills that would limit the government’s involvement in abortion procedures have been introduced, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Representatives introduced bills that would permanently prohibit any federal support for the procedure and prevent women who take advantage of the health insurance subsidies in the Democratic healthcare law from using the benefits to have an abortion, according to the article.
Robert Bradley, professor of politics and government, explained changes to abortion laws in the United States will be done at the state level, not the federal level.
“The number of states with a Republican majority is higher than it’s been in a century,” Bradley said.
Three proposals have been made at the state level in regards to changing abortion laws. States will move the time to undergo an abortion to less than 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. Florida is looking to implement a law that the mother must receive an ultrasound before having the procedure, and aid to fund an abortion from the government will be limited, Bradley said.
“However, changes to Roe vs. Wade will be much more difficult to make because it is a Supreme Court precedent and judges are obligated to follow it,” he said. “People wishing to change Roe vs. Wade have missed their shot.”
While any changes to Roe vs. Wade are not likely to happen in the near future, these proposed laws at the state level are chipping away and eroding the right for women to receive an abortion, Bradley said.
“Another way anti-abortion advocates are pursuing laws in favor of banning abortions is by threatening clinics and physicians by not giving them police protection, forcing them to close down,” he said.
Abortion was not a priority in the last midterm election, Bradley said. The deficit, immigration and health care reform were the center of attention and abortion did not fall into the health care debate, he said.
Richard Hughes, associate professor of history, explained politics has not always been involved with abortion rights.
“It’s much more politicized now. After 1973, when Roe vs. Wade was passed, being in a party did not predict a person’s stance on the issue of abortion,” Hughes said.
Hughes also explained the demographics of women who receive abortions are different than often portrayed by conservative groups.
“Of the women who have the procedure in the United States, half of them are over the age of 25, 59 percent are already mothers, and only 17 percent of women who have an abortions are teens,” he said.
As for politics, abortion laws tap into other issues such as gay marriage, and the GOP is using abortion rights to send a message to their base because it involves other cultural issues, he said.
“Abortion is a powerful and symbolic gesture to please their base. Many voters use abortion as the single factor on whether or not they will vote for a candidate,” Hughes said.
“I suspect we will not see anything drastic with changing abortion laws. The government will not go as far as overthrowing Roe vs. Wade,” he added.