Roe v. Wade: Preventing female deaths every day

Many protestors argue that the Roe v. Wade decision has been instrumental in saving lives. (AP Photo)

By Stephanie Kraver

The photos of purported genocide, and the mob of crazed pro-life propagandists that infiltrated the College’s campus was a disgrace to our academic community’s intellectualism, and personified the very dogmas that inhibit social progression. The bookmarks that were nonchalantly circulated on busy walkways behind a jovial and seemingly innocent guise were incredibly pernicious. On my way to breakfast I was given one of these pieces of literature. The document asserted falsities as truth, and among various other offenses, irreverently stated that “defenders of women” were responsible for making and distributing this piece of paper, or bookmark. This proclamation, other than being simply outrageous, neglects 37 years of safer conditions for women since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973.

“Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days,” retired gynecologist Waldo L. Fielding writes in 2008 in a New York Times essay, “Repairing the Damage, Before Roe.” He discusses the abject circumstances for women when he was a physician from 1948 to 1953; Fielding “saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion that one could conjure.” Women who were desperate to end their pregnancy performed their own operations, or got an inexperienced and uncertified abortionist to conduct the procedure, and use apparatuses such as coat hangers, darning needles, crochet hooks, and soda bottles.

“The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face,” Fielding recalls, is when a woman came into the hospital with “part of her intestine [out], which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.”

Before Roe v. Wade, women could not attain adequate care, and the horrors were insurmountable. “The woman had put herself at total risk, and literally did not know whether she would live or die,” says Fielding. However, after the Supreme Court decision in the ’70s, “ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such.”

The exhibit that was set up this week on our campus was a sensational distortion of genocide, and an insult to anyone who understands the indelible and tragic history before Roe v. Wade. Yet, these individuals from the Genocide Awareness Project, declaring that they are “defenders of women,” are the biggest farce of all.