Today women have more rights than they have ever had, but it came at a price. Over 40 years ago a case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court laid the foundation for women who wanted to have a choice, this choice was abortion. The famous case Roe v. Wade paved the path for women all over the United States to make their choice in the matter of pregnancy. However, there have been several activist groups that feel no matter what this is wrong, these groups result to violence that have been said to be a form a domestic terrorism. In 2003, Norma McCorvy, know has Jane Roe in the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, changed her outlook on abortion, her motion was denied. In 2007, the Federal law was passed banning certain abortion procedures. This again takes the decision out of the hands of women and forces some to have unsafe procedures, which can lead to never being able to have children or even death.
It was not until 2007 that the first ever-Federal law was passed banning certain abortion procedures. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed politicians the ability to choose the fate of women and families. The law criminalizes any abortion in the second trimester; the thought was it was too dangerous for women. This contradicts the over 30-year law that stated a women’s health came first. Trent Franks, an Arizona Representative has been pushing this bill to make it nation wide. This law takes the ability to make a decision for personal or medical reasons out of the hands of women, even if her doctor has reason to believe it is in her best interest (“Planned Parenthood”, 2014).
One of the most remembered cases that change abortion in America was Roe v. Wade. In 1971 Norma McCorvy, who was known to the court as Jane Roe, filed a case against Henry Wade. He was the district attorney who enforced a law that prohibited abortion, except to save the women’s life. On January 22, 1973, the U.S Supreme Court, a seven to two decision legally allow women to have an abortion under the ‘fourteenth amendment to the Constitution. However, Norma came back in 2003 and filed a motion with the U.S. District Court to have the case overturned, she felt there was new evidence that an abortion can hurt women. In September 2004 the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses her motion (CNN, 2014).
Certain states have the latitude to set laws that regulate abortion. Some have prohibiting pubic funding, mandating waiting periods, requiring state-mandated information, or compelling minors to obtain parental involvement. According to Cockrill and Weitz (2010) “Abortion rights advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have fought these policies arguing that they interfere with a woman’s right to an abortion by placing an undue burden on both patients and providers” (p. 15). The political efforts of certain states have changed law or policies regarding abortion. There are 33 states that have mandated information to patients, 24 that require a minimum waiting time, 32 prohibit Medicaid from paying for an apportion, four states will not allow private insurance to pay for abortion, and 35 mandate parental involvement.
In the case of Roe v. wade the court applied stare decisis, this is the doctrine of looking at precedent, or past decisions on the same issue. The courts choose not to reevaluate the case. Society has deemed abortion as a very controversial issue; it is almost taboo to speak of it. If the court chooses to reevaluate the case it would cause damage to the Courts integrity of the decision and commitment to the law, it would also allow the public to think the court decided with error. Although society is divided on the topic of abortion, the some states can choose to regulate abortions; their argument is to protect the fetus, unless an abortion is necessary to protect the mother. Certain states used the words viable and non-viable fetus, this means at the point the fetus can survive without the mother, they key number is 20 weeks. (“Cornell University Law School”, 2014). In 2008, the World Health Organization estimates over 21 million unsafe abortions have been performed globally. The stigma of abortions has pushed some women into unsafe places to have this procedure. There is an estimate 47,000 deaths each year from unsafe abortions. Some women have gone to the point of taking medicine that self-induces abortions, and then they too worried to seek medical attention when something bad happens. This stigma brings feels such as secrecy, shame, guilt, and fear. According to Culwell and Hurwitz (2013) “Stigma prevents or delays access to safe abortion as well as making lawmakers reluctant to relax restrictive legislation that limits information, funding, services, and training of healthcare providers.
Stigma is a societal construct, usually with the purpose of societal control, to punish behavior outside the societal norm” p. S17). Public safety is another issue with abortion. Activist have had groups set up outside of abortions clinics, though their intentions maybe harmless at times it has gotten out of hand. In Massachusetts, a 35-foot buffer zone law was stuck down by the Supreme Court; this law would offer a 35-foot zone around the abortion clinics. This law would have banned non-employees from coming within 35-feet of the clinics, the Supreme Court ruled this was against their first Amendment rights. The state defended the law saying it was necessary to keep those safe who wanted access to the clinics, and the court felt that even thought public safety is important it does not outweigh the Constitutional rights of individuals. There are two other states that supported the buffer zone, Colorado and Montana. Since the Supreme Court has stuck down Massachusetts law, it is likely the other two states will reevaluate the buffer zone law (Kliff, 2014). Most of the time when people watch the news and hear about domestic extremists they think of terrorism, from murders to bombings.
This is not always the case, sometimes it is the average citizen who feels strongly about what is right and wrong, in this case abortion. People like Francis Grady, who set off an incendiary device at a clinic in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This extreme violence reminds Americans that anti-abortion violence is a form of domestic extremism. The violence surrounding anti-abortion movement first appeared in the 1980’s but got worse in the 1990’s with several bombing, arsons, murders, and attempted murders. This violence became a consistent source of domestic terrorism, most often in the form of assaults, vandalism, bombings, arsons, drive-by shootings, and assassination attempts. There are groups that feel they are doing gods work, that abortion is a sin, and they have been sent to stop the women from having this procedure done. The United States does not include anti-abortion violence on their reports of terrorism, but this is a form of domestic terrorism (“Anti-Defamation League”, 2014).
In the United States citizens have certain inalienable rights, the Constitution grants and protects these rights. However, women are being told what her right is when she chooses to not continue with her pregnancy. This decision has been given stipulations and at times puts her in harm. Each state has laws governing abortion, some it is illegal, others have waiting times, and some have time lines as to how far women can go before she can no longer have an abortion. Anti-abortion groups have been labeled as domestic terrorism groups; these groups go to extremes to stop women from even going into a clinic for information. Some feel abortion is wrong and it is killing a life; yet these same groups will bomb abortion clinics, attempt to murder workers who are employed at said clinics, and arson of some of the clinic buildings. As a society, America has made great strides, but we still allow courts to make decisions that should be based on a women’s right to choose.
Anti-Defamation League. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.adl.org/combating-hate/domestic-extremism-terrorism/c/anti-abortion-violence-americas-forgotten-terrorism-1.html
Cockrill, K., & Weitz, T.A. (2010, January-February). Abortion Patients’ Perceptions of Abortion Regulation. Women’s Health Issues, 20(1), 12-19.
Cornell University Law School. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/planned_parenthood_of_southeastern_pennsylvania_v._casey_1992
CNN. (2014). CNN. Retrieved from
Culwell, K.R., & Hurwitz, M.D. (2013, May). Addressing Barriers to Safe Abortions. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 121(1), S16-S19.
Kliff, S. (2014). Vox. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2014/6/26/5845590/buffer-zones
Planned Parenthood. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/issues/abortion-access/federal-and-state-bans-and-restrictions-on-abortion/