Just about every day there’s another item in the news, like this one, that refers in some form or fashion to issue of whether abortion should be legal when it’s necessary “to save the life of the mother.” That phrase reveals more than some people might intend.
When it’s not the life of the mother, the debate is about access to abortions to protect the health of the mother. We’ve all heard the life/health of the mother cited by politicians of every stripe, and especially by those who are on the pro-abortion side.
The Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision uses both phrases in its final, legally binding section:”For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” (Paragraph XI-1-(c), italics added.)
Of course many if not most people who consider themselves “pro-life” agree with the folks on the other side of the aisle that abortion should be legal in cases where the life of the mother is at stake, and I certainly wouldn’t argue. I just find the semantics interesting. Everyone on both sides of the issue consistently refers to a pregnant woman as the “mother.”
So whose mother is she?
You can’t be a “mother” unless you have a son or daughter. Jane Roe, the lady who brought the suit that turned into the Roe vs Wade decision, had a daughter. The case had not yet been decided when her little girl was born, and Jane Roe’s daughter was adopted by an unnamed family.
I guess it would have sounded clumsy if the Supreme Court had mandated a legal protection for the life and health of “the woman with an object in her tummy,” but at the same time this universal use of the word “mother” shows pretty clearly that there is a son or daughter involved whenever the issue of abortion comes up.
In terms of modern day politics, it’s interesting that left wing “women’s groups” like the National Organization for Women show so much concern for the life, health, and convenience of the mother; and none at all for the life of the daughter.