Still wondering whom to vote for? Don’t forget about abortion rights

Over Mardi Gras dinner on Tuesday night, a friend told me about her discussion with another pal who seemed to think that Roe v. Wade could never be overturned. My friend was appalled by this declaration of absolute assurance that once the U.S. Supreme Court has promised something, it would not go back on its word.

This story really got me thinking. Most of my closest girlfriends are into women’s sexuality, so they are aware of the perilous situation that Roe v. Wade is currently in and how important it is to consider a pro-choice candidate in the upcoming presidential primary and subsequent election.

I think a lot of ladies (and gentlemen) are a little too confident in the security of Roe, and that security is causing them to disregard abortion as a legitimately pressing issue in the race for the presidency.

Although I am sure most of you out there already know this, a good restatement of the obvious could be the wake-up call that we all need. Roe v. Wade is case law, folks. Case law is arguably the weakest kind of law, in part because the Supreme Court can choose to overturn any previous ruling if the majority feels that opinion was wrong.

Nine people currently hold the power of decision over one of the most controversial issues in this country today. Not only do we need a president who will be prepared to appoint a pro-choice Supreme Court justice, but we need more than that. We need a president who will sign women’s right to abortion into federal law.

Codifying women’s right to abortion into federal law will make it far more difficult for the Supreme Court or any other governmental body to illegalize or even criminalize abortion.

Furthermore, it will put a stop to the chipping away at Roe v. Wade by the anti-abortion movement. Waiting periods, age restrictions, restrictions of types of abortions, the global gag rule and so on are slowly eroding the right to abortion guaranteed by Roe.

The most appalling move recently was the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2007.

Seriously, “partial-birth abortion” is not even a real term; it’s like the anti-abortion version of the Tooth Fairy. I will not go into explaining the minutiae of the Court’s decision or of second-trimester abortion methods, but if you are curious about why this is just silly, look up Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart.

The point is Roe v. Wade is not set in stone. Yet.

The right to an abortion is more than just that. It is the right to privacy, the right to autonomy over our own bodies; it is the right of women to their sexuality and their lives independent of biological function.

I know that many of you out there do not see yourselves sprinting to the local abortion clinic the next time you have a “scare,” but please consider that such a choice should remain with the individual, not with Chief Justice John Roberts or former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

The anti-abortion movement is just part of a chain reaction: First abortion, then the morning-after-pill, then hormonal birth control, then condoms and then we’re back to hanging each other over sexual freedom. Vote smartly, kids.

Carrie Bass is an art history senior. E-mail [email protected].