Whether an individual agrees or disagrees with the idea of abortion, the ultimate idea behind the decision of Roe v. Wade is a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body, regardless of whether or not she wants to keep her child. The premise behind the freedom of choice is one of the fundamental principles behind the Constitution’s promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to make decisions over the use of birth control as well as whether or not to have an abortion is part of those fundamental rights (Garrow, 27). Even over forty years after this landmark decision has been passed, this topic is still hotly debated by different groups in both the religious and political arenas.
First, according to Rubin (11), the politics over abortion has always been disguised as a morality issue but the fact of the matter is that lower economic class women, whether single working women or others who for a variety of reasons could not have and raise a child, needed to have the choice to have an abortion. This was not looked upon as a means of birth control, but rather as a means of giving women their freedom so they did not have to go through the stigma of having a pregnancy and either being forced to care for a child with limited to no economic resources or having to face an emotionally draining process of giving their child up for adoption. The case of Roe v. Wade is an excellent example of how morality cannot be legislated because of the backlash that comes from a variety of sources no matter what choice is made.
Second, Garrow (31) points out that this case has a great deal to do with choice than the issue of a female having the right to decide what will and will not happen to her body. The arguments presented in the case encompassed the entire question of freedom of choice but did center itself around reproductive rights, yet was considered one of the major victories in the fight for women’s rights as a whole (Garrow, 32). While it was a major victory, it was a narrow one because of the scope of the topic presented in the facts of the case. However, with that being said, there was a great deal of hope set upon the back of this case where women’s rights as well as the freedom of choice was concerned, which still after forty years still comes into question by various political and religious groups (Rubin, 13). This seems to be ironic considering the fact that this country’s principles were founded upon a separation of church and state.
The verdict itself had a positive as well as a negative impact upon the country since it was first handed down in 1973. The positive aspect of the verdict is that according to Rubin (13) the country has been able to begin the process of not legislating issues of morality such as the right for a woman to choose what she does with her own body and whether or not she chooses to terminate a pregnancy. Additionally, it made people sit up and take notice that other moral issues needed to be settled by individuals in their own homes rather than have the government interfere by trying to legislate morality. The negative aspect of Roe v. Wade is that it still is the center of many debates such as whether government funding should be used to pay for the abortions of low-income females (Garrow, 33).
In conclusion, the freedom of choice has always been a founding principle of this country from its inception. The case of Roe v. Wade affirmed this right to choose is extended to women and their choice of reproductive rights. This right of choice is important in all aspects of life, no matter what the topic.