Roe v. Wade turns 30
Last week, the Bowdoin Women's Association (BWA) sponsored several events to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.
The group set up a table on Wednesday in Smith Union, providing information on the Bush Administration's record concerning female reproductive rights. In addition, BWA, in conjunction with Planned Parenthood, offered materials of both local and nation interest concerning abortion rights. Later on Wednesday, at the Women's Resource Center, there was an informal discussion group on abortion rights.
Hannah Curtis '03, who took part in organizing Wednesday's events, felt that the response from Bowdoin students was encouraging. Said Curtis, "We had a great turn out at our Wednesday evening celebration. People do care tremendously about the issue regardless of which side of the issue they fall on. I think it is great to give students a chance to voice their opinion about the issue. BWA was incredibly happy to be able to facilitate the opportunity for students to share their hopes, fears, and concerns about this intensely personal yet hugely political issue."
In addition to Wednesday's events, a conference called "Voices and Choices" took place at the University of Southern Maine on Saturday. Organized by Planned Parenthood, The Maine Choice Coalition and the Bowdoin Women's Association were among the co-sponsors of the conference. 13 Bowdoin students were in attendance.
According to Curtis, "The keynote speaker [of "Voices and Choices"] was Kitty Kolbert, J.D., an influential lawyer who has worked to uphold the Roe decision. She challenged anti-abortion activists and pro-choice activists to find common ground. She asserted that many activists on both sides of the issue want to see a common goal achieved: the reduced need for abortion. This involves comprehensive and realistic sex education, not the 'ignorance only' abstinence-until-marriage education favored by the current political climate. This also includes ensuring that those women who choose to have child are ensured prenatal care and a minimum standard of economic security when the child is born."
According to Rebecca Fontaine, the week's events served as a reminder of the reproductive freedoms Bowdoin students take for granted. "I think in general, the consequences of Roe v. Wade being overturned are not fully understood by members of this generation. We are a generation of women who have grown up knowing that we have the right to make reproductive choices- that our bodies are our own. I don't think that the possibilities of a return to back alleys is fathomable for most."