40 Years since Roe v. Wade, Some Still Determined to Halt Progress

This week marked the 40th  anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion and affirmed that people with a uterus have the right to choose what’s best for them in conjunction with their doctor, without the interference of politics. However, this weekend also marked the “Walk for Life” march in San Francisco, in which hundreds of anti-abortion activists toted pictures of babies and religious icons. When I walked past the march, I noticed that, while there were many women, the majority of the participants were cisgender men. In fact, the current president, John Paul Dugyon, of USF’s anti-choice group ‘Students for Life’ is a cisgender male. What I don’t understand is why people without a uterus are trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with mine.

Although it’s been established that access to abortion is a legal right, there continues to be a squabble over reproductive health care despite the fact that it’s been proven that having access to those medical services is good for both individuals and society writ large. In fact, a study conducted by UCSF confirmed that women who are blocked from having abortions are far more likely to wind up below the poverty line, unemployed and dependent on public assistance. They were more prone to staying with their partner, but also more likely to have experienced domestic abuse and feel less positive about their relationship. However, having an abortion doesn’t have a negative impact on mental health, and the vast majority of those that do have an abortion feel it was the right decision even after the fact.

People are at liberty to choose whether or not they want an abortion. It’s not my business what you choose to do with your body, nor is it anyone else’s. However, seeking to eliminate that right is an active attack against anyone with a uterus. Consider the death of Savita Halappanavar, the woman in Ireland who died due to being denied an abortion because public policy dictated that the fetus that was killing her was more important than her life. Think on the hundreds of thousands of other women across the globe who have suffered and continue to die under similar circumstances or by seeking unsafe ’back alley’ abortions when they don’t have adequate and unfettered access to the health care they need. To those who call themselves pro-life, I implore you to look in the eyes of someone who could potentially want an abortion at some point in their life and tell them you want them to significantly harm their own chances at living a prosperous, happy and healthy life for the sake of a microscopic group of cells.

16 thoughts on “40 Years since Roe v. Wade, Some Still Determined to Halt Progress

  1. How could you possibly reduce a crowd, that ABC7 News acknowledged in the 10s of thousands, to a few hundred. I’m very disappointed in your lack of journalistic integrity. The crowd of close to 60,000 pro-life women, men and children of all ages, races and creeds stretched from Civic Center Plaza to the foot of Market Street. “Hundreds” indeed.

  2. There’s quite a difference between opinion pieces and factual reporting! Completely bending the truth to suit one’s own personal slant and agenda is not true journalism and has no place on a supposed Catholic campus. Your comments contained here are simply and unequivocally not true! The fact that a Jesuit University would allow itself to be compromised by such a biased and nonfactual commentary printed in the student newspaper is beyond belief!

    On Saturday, January 26th, well over 50,000 people walked peacefully from City Hall down Market Street in support of the dignity and sanctity of all human life! As always we were joined by members of all faiths, all races, and all ages. As always the walkers were peaceful, courageous and happy, the living Culture of Life on the streets of San Francisco. More than ever, this year there were an incredible amount of young people, children, and families who participated.

    We hope that the Editors will print a retraction to this article, and allow the Walk for Life West Coast equal time and coverage! Thank you!

  3. Hello, writer here. I’m also an editor at the paper and I photographed the event.

    First, I went to the event fairly early in the day when there weren’t as many people. I’m sure ABC7 was accurate in their reporting however I was unable to stay for the duration of the march due to other obligations.

    Second of all, I hope you are all aware that this is an opinion article and nowhere does it state that it was strictly men and, in fact, if you look at the photos we’ve posted in this issue, you can see the diversity. However, that does nothing to limit my horror that cisgender men are marching to limit the autonomy I have over my body. Going to a catholic university does not mean all of the students are catholic and it’s absurd to say that any opinions voiced that are contrary to catholic doctrine ought to remain unpublished. I also don’t understand your assertion of any of this being untrue, my data is correct and if you’re interested in the study, I suggest you look at the Turnaway Study.

    If you have any other objections, I encourage you to express your opinions to our opinion editor, who can be reached at opinion@sffoghorn.info

    Best Regards,


  4. For those who consider themselves pro-life activists, I would ask how they are supporting healthcare for people of all ages and socioeconomic classes, how they are working for a better foster care system, and how they are supporting domestic violence agencies who strive to make those parents and children safer and healthier in a world where – for them – abortion would not be an option. Life is not merely the absence of death. Every baby that is born comes with a set of responsibilities, NOT just to the parent, but also to the society in which it grows up. A society that forces the birth of a child into an environment that cannot properly raise it is an irresponsible society.

  5. Wow.

    As a former editor in chief of the San Francisco Foghorn, I can only say that I am a bit disappointed.

    After all, the latest thinking from our left leaning brothers and sisters in the art of journalism, like those expressed recently at theblaze.com, is the overt recognition that abortion does kill a living human being. But, it really doesn’t matter now does it. Any cis or transgender female has the right to chop up and suck out this human life at any time, for any reason. So get wid it man!!

    The failure to recognize the size of the enormous crowd at the Walk for Life, leaving before listening to the heart wrenching stories of those suffering from post abortion syndrome, skipping out before the great opportunities to photograph the juxtaposition of the wrinkled, angry, braying and cursing pro-abortion counter-protesters on one side (some in drag, others with coat hangers) and the singing, fresh-faced young families and exuberant youths on the other can all be forgiven yet. Just publish a full frontal embrace of this latest and liberal, and oh-so-San Francisco hipster sentiment: who cares if you kill the unborn!

    But please, and only as a favor to this old Foghorn alum, add this sobering postscript to your editorial. The late Mother Teresa (who gave a speech at USF’s University Center some 25 yrs ago) is reported to have said one time, “The fruit of abortion is nuclear war”.

  6. The opinion editor of the Foghorn here. I’m writing in response to the commenter “Walk for Life West Coast”.

    As I am considering running this comment as a letter to the editor in the next issue of the Foghorn, I want to secure your permission to do so. Please e-mail your contact information to opinion@sffoghorn.info so I can confirm that this comment was written by or officially on behalf of the organizing party of Walk for Life. I will need a response by Saturday afternoon at the very latest in order to include your response in the next edition.

    Vicente Patino
    Opinion Editor

  7. Amanda,

    Continue to write. Who cares that you disappoint bigot individuals who would like to push their values on to you, let alone notice that it is an opinion piece.

    By no means is it wrong to believe in any certain religion; however, I find it sad and daunting knowing there are individuals who would like to enforce policies based on THEIR beliefs.

    Male who doesn’t govern your uterus.

  8. Dear Amanda:

    It’s the same tired lie: “our bodies, ourselves” (although the older slogan was not so crass). No, it is not your uterus that’s primarily at issue here. It is the separate and distinct human being who is temporarily residing there. Absent pregnancy, no one is telling you what to do with your uterus (one hopes of course that you will use it for the purpose it was evidently intended), but conception brings a new human being into existence. That child may be inside of you and dependent on you, but by no means is it simply part of you. Any objective observer with a rudimentary knowledge of biology admits that the baby in utero is genetically unique–it is not your tissue, nor is it, as you put it, simply a “group of cells” any more than you are. That baby is, as you are, a unique and precious human organism, deserving of respect and life, regardless of location or condition of dependency–a person with an immortal soul and an eternal destiny. Its a child, not a choice that is of chief importance here.

    You say that: “It’s not my business what you choose to do with your body, nor is it anyone else’s.” The implication being that no one should tell you what to do with yours (including your uterus). But your principle of self-autonomy has an exception for the child–the mother determines exactly what the child does with his or her body (and her uterus if the child is female). You revolt at the thought of another person suggesting that someone should continue to bear a child she has conceived, but in abortion one person determines that someone else will die. It is obvious that the latter is by far the greater imposition.

    Abortion is a death sentence for the defenseless child in the womb. And certainly you will agree that it becomes the business of others when what a person chooses to do with his or her body causes harm to another–you will simply refuse to accept that baby in utero is “another”–it’s only part of you and, if not, it’s “microscopic” and therefore unimportant. This is simply untrue, not that size matters, as Horton says: “A person is a person no matter how small.” The truth is that even a human ovum is visible to the naked eye, an embryo at four weeks is about a centimeter and by 8 weeks about an inch and a quarter. At this stage the embryonic stage is ending: myogenesis and neurogenesis have progressed to where the embryo is capable of motion (brain activity and heart beat began at six weeks), the eyes have begun to form, along with all essential organs, hair and facial features have begun to develop, fingers and toes begin to form.

    Most surgical abortions in the US (suction-aspiration, dilation and curettage, dilation and evacuation) take place between the 8th and 16th week gestational age and involve tearing the fetal child limb from limb and crushing the head with an aspirator or a curette or, when his or her tissues become tougher, surgical instruments. After the 15th week until approximately the 26th besides D&E another technique involves inducing premature labor and delivery with prostaglandins often coupled with injecting the amniotic fluid with hypertonic solutions containing saline or urea chemically burning the child to make sure its DOA. A third technique for second trimester abortions is intact dilation and extraction (IDX) (also called intrauterine cranial decompression), which requires surgical decompression of the fetus’s head before evacuation. In this “medical procedure” the abortion “doctor,” inducing labor, delivers a baby feet first but drives a scissors into the brain stem while the head is still in the uterus opening the base of the cranium so that the brains can be suctioned out, collapsing the skull, killing the child while it is partially born (still legal after Federal ban as long as the extraction does not pass the navel before the brain is destroyed or to be safe a fatal injection precedes extraction). In the third trimester which begins in the 27th week of pregnancy, abortion may be performed by IDX as described above, induction of labor, or by hysterotomy (similar to a caesarean section except the child is killed first or allowed to die from neglect.) Late term abortions kill infants that are more developed than the premature babies being saved in the neo-natal wards (20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks).

    Unfortunately, death by abortion is legal up to the time of birth and even after in the case of partial-birth abortion and cases of induced labor or hysterotomy where the child survives its transit from the womb if no one comes to the aid of the “unwanted” child. But even the killing of a viable child in the womb is really infanticide since abortion is technically the expulsion or removal from the womb of a developing embryo or fetus, occurring as a result either of natural causes (spontaneous abortion) or of a deliberate act (induced abortion), in the period before it is capable of independent survival, the threshold of viability being defined in standard medical texts and also by the National Center for Health Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) as <20 weeks' gestation or fetal weight <500g, i.e. half-way through gestation, in the middle of the second trimester.

    This slaughter of innocents is what abortion is. No doubt it can seem that this killing is a convenient way out of difficult situations, and certainly it is easier to choose to abort and justify your choice afterward if you convince yourself that there is no child involved, hence the deceptive rhetoric: it's my uterus (and if we admit that there is anything else involved) it's only a blob of tissue, it's merely a microscopic group of cells.

    Finally, I deny your assertions about the benefit to individuals and society in general of women having their pre-partum children put to death. Many women regret their decision to abort, often times a decision they felt coerced into making, (not infrequently by "people without uteruses"). Most women who choose to bear their children through pregnancy are happy that they have done so. If they feel they cannot raise their child, adoption at least gives the comfort that they have given them a chance for life. Most women who raise their children, love them and are loved by them, and their children become the center of their lives. But regardless of the debate about the relative benefit to the mother of bearing or aborting her child, certainly there can be no argument that this "medical procedure" is not so good for the individual who is exterminated. You ignore this inconvenient fact. You ignore the child. Amanda, it's a child, not a choice–hopefully you will realize it some day and champion the life of the defenseless, choosing life and not death for your children (if you are blessed with them) and those of others.

    A past Foghorn Editorials Editor lamenting the paper's and University's decline but consoled by the fact that his college aged daughters and their female friends (with some sons and nephews) were on the Walk for Life having come up for that purpose with a large contingent of students from an authentically Catholic college in Southern California.

  9. i realize this is an opinion article but why does it seem like some “facts” are presented without any citation? :

    – “a study conducted by UCSF confirmed that women who are blocked from having abortions are far more likely to wind up below the poverty line, unemployed and dependent on public assistance”

    – “Consider the death of Savita Halappanavar, the woman in Ireland who died due to being denied an abortion because public policy dictated that the fetus that was killing her was more important than her life”

  10. In response to Fred Richard, Dr. Seuss was so pro-choice that he threatened to sue the pro-life organization misusing and appropriating his words, this quote. He and his wife were lifelong supporters of Planned Parenthood. In fact, his widow continues to sue pro-life organizations for using this quote to this day. The book was about the American post-war occupation of Japan, not about fetuses. Please stop using this quote to promote such oppressive behavior towards women and non-religious peoples. What many, many people who oppose the choice to abortion do not realize is that not everyone believes in what you believe in. Not everyone believes in a soul, in a heaven or in a God. What you should argue for, is that God gave Man free will, i.e. free will to commit sins. If they decide to ‘sin’, then so be it. You are in no place to intervene in the way someone lives their lives.
    To the author of this piece, you go girl!
    I’ll sign off with this quote, by Libby Anne.
    “The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about punishing women for having sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.”

  11. Amanda,

    In all consensual cases, nobody is forcing two people to have sex, and thus nobody is forcing a woman to have a baby, ever. They chose to engage in sex and they know the consequences, and if they are responsible adults, they will accept the consequences, one obvious possibility between male and female always being conception.
    Please stop acting like all women are spontaneously given babies in their wombs and have to nurture them without any choice.

    You say you are pro-choice, but you act like there is no choice to have sex or not and with which person and at what time.

  12. Think it such as a journal or perhaps a magazine in general interest for people who to read through. Funny, witty, controversial, entertaining, useful, acerbic, thoughtful, serious, curious, unexpected comebacks will be welcome.

  13. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the format for your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to look a nice weblog like this one these days..

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