Edit ModuleShow Tags

Roe v. Wade Under Siege



It was a big day for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Their annual luncheon at the Stamford Marriott last April was a sellout as 550 mostly women, but including more than a few men, came to hear America’s leading women’s rights advocate Sarah Weddington tell it like it is.

There is no one better qualified to address the past and present of Roe v. Wade than Dr. Weddington. At the age of twenty-six with the ink barely dry on her law diploma, she argued the case before the nine all-male members of the U.S. Supreme Court, still the youngest ever to do so, and won.

The 1973 landmark decision legalizing abortion in the first trimester was based on the right to privacy as contained in the Fourteenth Amendment. Only two of the justices dissented. It was an incredible victory for those who believed that women have the right to choose to bear a child or not, and to control the size of the family and their own future.

The minister’s daughter would go on to become a Texas state legislator, assistant to President Jimmy Carter, professor, lecturer, author and founder of the Weddington Center, for women in leadership.

There was a hushed silence as Sarah Weddington took the podium and told of her battle to legalize abortion and contraception, and the continuing battle today with those who seek to nullify Roe v. Wade. State after state has introduced legislation and regulations that greatly inhibit or deny women access to clinics. In many states doctors avoid providing abortion for fear of legal retribution. “I would never have believed, “ she said, “that forty years later I would still be waging this battle.” Describing the days of back-alley and self-administered botched abortions that took so many women’s lives and rendered others damaged and infertile, she emphasized, “We must all fight to see that those dark days don’t return.”

Entering law school at the University of Texas, she took outside jobs to pay the tuition, but in her last year her relationship with her future husband had deepened and to her dismay she found herself pregnant. The two faced the life-changing decision on whether Sarah should bear their child or seek an abortion. It was illegal in Texas, and while also illegal in Mexico, it was not enforced. The result was a booming business across the border often conducted by unlicensed practitioners of uncertain medical ability. Her choice of a Mexican clinic was fortunate; many were not so lucky.  

Ardent supporters from the University of Texas stood ready to challenge the strict Texas anti-abortion laws. It was decided to try having their case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. While a lower court had ruled that some provisions in the Texas laws were unconstitutional, the Dallas County District Attorney, Henry Wade, in true Texas fashion, announced that he would continue to prosecute under the old law regardless. This
actually helped strengthen their appeal for a hearing by the Supreme Court.

The alternative of waging a state-by-state battle was unfeasible and would have been endless. Yet, in spite of Roe v. Wade this is the very situation Planned Parenthood faces today in leading the fight for women’s health. Opponents of abortion have managed to mislabel and distort its mission. While the organization does not advocate abortion per se, (only 3 percent of its services are abortion procedures), it simply wants to guarantee women their legal right to make this emotionally difficult, personal decision that can profoundly affect their future.

Planned Parenthood’s educational programs, especially those for teenagers, have significantly reduced the incidence of unintended pregnancies. It also makes contraceptives available and affordable. Statistics provided by the Guttmacher Institute, the leading research organization on women’s health, show a significant decline in the abortion rate where contraceptives are widely available.

An equally important part of Planned Parenthood’s mission is providing basic health services for many women not covered by insurance. Last year PPSNE served 69,000 patients in Connecticut and Rhode Island who made 17,800 visits. Half were people of color, a quarter teens and
12 percent men. The largest group was women ages twenty to twenty-nine. Its eighteen clinics provide testing and treatment for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases along with annual physical exams including mammogram, pap tests and screening for diabetes. Yet for all these health benefits, Planned Parenthood continues to be under attack over the issue of abortion by a radicalized minority, when in fact its birth control programs have proven to reduce the need for abortion.  

But that doesn’t discourage anti-abortionists from interfering with the operations of the clinics, often with paid pickets. At the Stamford clinic, one of the busier ones, a protester left her group, went inside to make an appointment for an abortion, then rejoined the picket line! Go figure.
Two generations of women owe much to Sarah Weddington’s Supreme Court victory of Roe over Wade. Her presentation made a convincing case for supporting the cause of women’s health and reproductive rights, a battle for which she sees no end. Still, she laced this serious subject with humor.

She recounted a story going around about Neil Armstrong. Everyone remembers what Armstrong said when he set foot on the moon, but few know what else he said. Seems that as a boy he threw a baseball that ended up in the Baxters’ yard next door, right under the open window of their bedroom. As he was retrieving it, he heard the loud voice of a woman from above saying, “You want sex? You’ll have sex when that kid down there walks on the moon!” Murmured Armstrong, climbing back into the lunar module, “Thank you, Mrs. Baxter.”

And thank you, Sarah Weddington.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

 

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Greenwich Agenda

  • Native American Heritage Month

    2014.11.23
     @ Bruce Museum of Arts and Science

    November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Bruce Museum will celebrate with a special Family Day dedicated to Native American traditions...

  • The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Junior League of Greenwich presents 2014 Enchanted Forest! Holiday Boutiques Gingerbeard Workshops Santa's Breakfast...

  • Junior League of Greenwich The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Junior League of Greenwich

    The Junior League of Greenwich (JLG) will host its annual holiday fundraiser, The Enchanted Forest on Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Holiday Craft Sale

    2014.11.22
     @ First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    Annual Holiday Craft Sale in Old Greenwich, Nov. 22 and 23 The Annual Holiday Craft Sale at First Congregational Church of Greenwich is a great...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    "IN FOCUS" OPENING RECEPTION -  Thursday October 30, 2014 6-8pm. "IN FOCUS"features seven artists' visions in...

  • Antarctica: Photographs by Diane Tuft

    2014.10.28
     @ Bruce Museum

    October 28, 2014 - February 1, 2015 Selections from Gondwana, Images of an Ancient Land Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT...

  • Exhibition: Northern Baroque Splendor

    2014.09.20
     @ Bruce Museum

    Northern Baroque Splendor. The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vienna September 20, 2014 - April 12, 2015...

  • "Paper & Stone" an exhibition by Ellen Gordon & Sary Backer at the Loft Artists Gallery

    2014.11.01
     @ Loft Artists Gallery

    Paper and Stone” An exhibition by Sary Backer & Ellen Gordon November 1 - November 30th Artists’ reception: November 8th from 4 – 6 PM...

  • Exhibition: Native American Pottery from the Bruce Museum Collection

    2014.11.22
     @ Bruce Museum

      Generously underwritten by Gabelli Funds and The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund Over the years, the Bruce Museum has...

  • The Best of 2014: Cecile Chong, David, Ruth Hiller, David Licata, Loanne Mattera, Jill Parisi, Kristen Thiele

    2014.11.08
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY I Dates: November 8 – December 22, 2014     Opening Reception: November 8, 6:30 – 8:00 PM Public Invited THE BEST OF 2014:  Cecile...

  • Family Gallery Tours

    2014.10.26
     @ Bruce Museum

    Designed for children ages 6-10 and their families, these tours will provide an interactive, discussion-based tour of the museum’s current...

  • 6th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop

    2014.11.28

    Santa and his LIVE reindeer - Dancer, Dasher, Prancer and Blitzen, are coming back to town for the 6th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival &...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Christmas Tree and Wreath Sale for Charity

    2014.11.29
     @ First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    O, Christmas Tree; O Christmas Tree Buy your tree and help those in need this Christmas! It’s time for the annual Christmas Tree and...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.11.04
     @ Bruce Museum

    Children ages 3-5 and their adult caregivers are encouraged to come explore the Museum’s collections and exhibitions through picture books...

  • Greenwich Gives

    2014.12.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue

    Looking for a fun way to complete your holiday shopping and give back to your community?    On December 2, 2014, local non-profits...

  • Holiday WOW At Your Front Door!

    2014.12.02
     @ Garden Education Center of Greenwich

    Beautify your entrance way with luscious holiday evergreens, berries, pinecones and more, sure to last throughout the dreary winter...

  • Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain

    2014.12.02
     @ Noble Conference Room Greenwich Hospital

    Presented by Greenwich Hospital and Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain Tuesday, 12/2/14 at...

  • Israeli Film Series | Bethlehem

    2014.12.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us throughout the year for award-winning films direct from Israel that will show you Israel through the lens of a movie camera. Following each...


Show More...
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular Articles

  1. Greenwich Hospital Venezia Gala
    Greenwich Country Club
  2. BCA Annual Luncheon + Fashion Show
    Hyatt Regency Greenwich
  3. Greenwich Happy Hours
    6 places to go in Greenwich for Happy Hour
  4. Greenwich Restaurant Week Opening Night Kick-off Party
    Miller Motorcars
  5. AmeriCares Airlift Benefit
    Westchester County Airport