COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -In our nation there are several issues that have been at times, polarizing. Race relations. Equal rights for women. Sexual orientation. But none has people drawing a line in the dirt like abortion.
Forty years ago today (1-22-13), the nation’s highest court ruled in favor of a single pregnant woman from Texas. Roe, as she was known, was not allowed to end her pregnancy because of the abortion laws in Texas. And so she sued. A District attorney from Texas named Wade defended the state’s position. Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of Roe. And, in doing so, not only granted her request, but in effect, created the right to abortion nationwide.
Pro choice. Pro life. They may never agree. The two sides of the abortion issue remain as far apart as they were all those years ago.
“With all the restrictions on abortion here in this state it has greatly reduced women’s ability to make decisions about their healthcare,” said Attorney Carrie Jourdan.
An unexpected pregnancy. Thousands of woman face the news everyday. To keep the baby or to terminate. It’s a decision that can change the rest of their lives.
At Bethany Christian Services expectant mothers are guided though the process.
“My hope would be that we would not have abortion clinics, that we wouldn’t have to think about that. That all the girls that are going into clinics would be coming to pro life ministries where they would know their alternatives,” said Vicki Kimbrell, Director at Bethany Christian Services.
Abortion is ranked as one of the most divided issues in America and some true believers in Mississippi find it hard to understand why.
“It sadness me that the safest place should be for a baby in the mothers womb but its become the most unsafest place,” adds Kimbrell.
Director Ida Gleason at Life Choices gives woman free pregnancy tests and helps expectant mothers qualify for services like Medicare. Then there’s adoption. And, if women choose to terminate the pregnancy, there is also guidance for that.
“A lot of times people are not aware of the effects that abortion can have on a woman emotionally and up to 10 years even after the fact they can experience what’s called post abortion stress,” said Ida Gleason, Director at Life Choices.
Attorney Carrie Jourdan says there is still not equality when it comes to choice. She says restrictions in Mississippi force women to travel to out of state doctors. And, that takes the kind of money that many women just don’t have.
“What we’ve seen states do is place lots and lots of restrictions on funding, in other words they’ve increased the, while the woman has the right to choose they’ve increased the difficultly of her ability to choose,” added Attorney Carrie Jourdan.
Forty years. And still, for many women, no clear choice.