The year is 1972. A gallon of gas costs 55 cents, Watergate is dominating national headlines, and the last U.S. soldier was just withdrawn from Vietnam.
And abortion is still illegal in more than half of the country.
While most of the other happenings above will never be relived — wouldn’t 55 cents a gallon for gas be nice? — there is a decent chance abortion could be recriminalized. And this is something that should concern men as well as women. In the same way that, as a straight person, I support the LGBTQ community in its fight toward equality, as a man I support women in their struggle to maintain control over their bodies.
If Mitt Romney is elected on Nov. 6, he will have the next four years to appoint several Supreme Court judges that could skew the balance of the court — a balance that would ensure women lose the right to choose.
And that’s what the whole abortion debate is about: choice. No one is “anti-life,” as people against abortion would like to label their opponents. The truth is people who declare themselves “pro-life” are more accurately described as being “anti-choice.”
Abortion is something that should never be taken lightly, but it ultimately isn’t up to the government, religious organizations, or even men to make that decision for the women of our country. No one should be able to tell the 13,700 women each year who get pregnant from rape or incest or the 82,200 women each year who have health issues regarding their pregnancy that they can’t get an abortion.
This issue was decided in 1973 with the landmark case Roe v. Wade and upheld again in 1992 with the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. On top of that, public opinion favors legalized abortion. According to Gallup as of May 6, 2012, 25 percent of Americans support abortion in any circumstance, 52 percent in certain situations, and only 20 percent are against it in any situation.
Despite this, Romney has openly campaigned against legalized abortion, stating, “Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do.”
This was earlier in his run for the highest office in the world, but unlike many of his other views that have magically dissipated or become more ambiguous since he won the Republican primary, Romney has not retracted his stance on abortion.
In the same way that the government shouldn’t be able to make it illegal to release “semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina” — yes, that was an amendment to a proposed bill in Oklahoma — the government shouldn’t be able to tell women they can’t get abortions.
For me, abortion is an extreme option that should be only used in extreme circumstances. Still, my view doesn’t matter because it’s not my decision to make.
It’s that simple.
Women’s rights are of monumental importance in this election, and should be to both men and women — let’s not go back to 1972.
Reach opinion columnist Nathan Taft at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Nathantaft
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