Dear Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
When Roe v. Wade was decided, in 1973, I was a law school student and part of a wave of women entering the field of law. Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe before the US Supreme Court on behalf of Jane Roe, came to speak to my school to discuss her work on the case. Although the details escape me now, it was an inspiring talk, specifically regarding women’s reproductive rights and more generally in support of greater autonomy for women. Keep in mind that it wasn’t until the following year that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed, giving women the right to have credit cards in their own names, separate from their husbands.
To me, Roe v. Wade was part of a broader movement supporting privacy rights (recognized by the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965), and civil rights more generally. Many of us remember a time when women had few legal rights, minorities had few legal rights (including even the ability to vote in some states), and all of us depended on the good will of individual white men for protection.
Roe v. Wade brought a measure of freedom to us, allowing women to decide for ourselves if and when we choose to terminate a pregnancy. Unfortunately, although the vast majority of women support Roe v. Wade, a determined minority in this country seeks to roll back the clock. Many who want to outlaw abortions also want to return to a bygone era regarding other issues as well.
On January 19, 2022, you will be discussing SB 399 (repealing the 24-week ban) and SB 436 (protecting access to abortion), and I urge you to support both. Some of us faced with a difficult decision regarding a pregnancy might have an abortion, and some might not. The decision, however, should always be ours. Let us consult with our doctors and talk with our life partners in coming to our decision, without interference from the state or others. Do not let those with an anti-abortion agenda turn back the clock.
Ruth Larson, Alton