Thirty-seven years ago today, the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade guaranteed American women the right to choose abortion. The decision held that a woman had the right, with her doctor, to choose to terminate a pregnancy in the first months without restriction based on the guaranteed constitutional right to privacy. In honor of the late Dr. George Tiller, the annual Blog for Choice campaign asks: “What does Trust Women mean to you?”
Last May, Dr. Tiller, one of the most well-known doctors who provided late-term abortions, was murdered while attending a Lutheran church service in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. His anti-choice killer has since stated that he acted in defense of the lives of the unborn. Daily, Dr. Tiller wore “Trust Women” buttons supporting the women he was committed to helping. Today’s anniversary and the Blog for Choice theme reminds us of the importance of trusting women personally and politically.
To trust women personally is to celebrate a woman’s intellect, compassion, judgment, and choices. It is ridiculous to think that women aren’t capable of making the best decisions concerning their families, their lives, and their bodies. Politically, by honoring a woman’s right to choose, Roe v. Wade trusts women. The two are inseparable. To separate political trust from personal trust can only make sense in a hypocritical paradigm. Anti-choice therefore becomes anti-trust.
It is important today to recognize the challenges we still face when it comes to trusting women. To remember Dr. Tiller’s death is to remind ourselves of the violence and hateful rhetoric many clinics, activists, and regular women face everyday. We live in a society that has allowed anti-choice activists to define the nature and discourse of abortion in this country. By critically thinking about the meaning behind Trust Women, we can change the discussion from dependence on polarizing religious and political ideologies, to far more inclusive topics of trust and respect.
Today’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade reminds us not only to celebrate a woman’s choice, but also recognize the challenges the pro-choice movement still faces. By trusting women to make their own decisions concerning their bodies and lives, we encourage respect, compassion, and support for women nationally and globally.