U.S. Health Care Insurance: Picking on Women

The United States would have the best health care system in the world if it weren’t for its insurers. I’ve had health insurance for forty years and I’ve never seen such a mess as we’re experiencing right now. A recent event in my own life brought this home to me:

I had a routine mammogram this spring and was surprised—and dismayed—when I received a letter saying that I needed a follow-up breast ultrasound because of some suspicious findings. I had to wait over a month for my appointment. I stayed calm and told myself that it probably wasn’t anything. And I was right. There was nothing there. I just have very dense breasts and it was hard to see just what was going on in the initial mammogram. After taking more extensive x-rays it was decided that an ultrasound wasn’t even necessary.

Good thing, because I would have had to pay out of pocket for that, too.

It seems that my insurance company is refusing to pay for the second mammogram because they only authorize one a year. So I’m going to have to foot the $200 bill.

Tell me, please, what I should have done? My doctor ordered the follow-up mammogram to make sure that I wasn’t developing breast cancer. I didn’t ask for the second mammogram. If I’d known my insurance wouldn’t pay for it, would I have had it done? Maybe not.

I don’t have the $200 but I may be able to work out a payment plan. I can pay it off over time. But what about people who can’t even afford to do that? All this policy is going to do is prevent people from undergoing health procedures that just might save their lives.

If I’d had breast cancer, would my insurance company have paid for additional mammograms as I underwent treatment? Or would they charge me for each of them on the grounds that they only pay for one a year?

I recently read that physicians’ associations are now recommending that annual mammograms should begin at the age of 40. Right now most insurance companies are going by the older guidelines which say that mammograms are not “cost-effective” if a woman is under 50. That’s right. Apparently, they don’t think that enough breast cancer is detected between the ages of 40 and 50 to justify the cost of administering the ten mammograms during that decade.

This is despite the fact that breast cancer is usually much more aggressive in younger women. I myself know three women in their 30s who died of breast cancer.

I guess I’m lucky that I’m old enough to qualify for one mammogram a year. But what if I was younger and had a family history of breast cancer? What if it was determined that I had the markers for it? Would my insurance company still refuse to pay for mammograms that my doctor would most likely order?

Another area in which women are being short-changed by the health insurance system is reproductive care. Contraception has gotten much more expensive, but it’s more expensive still to get pregnant and have a baby. So why aren’t insurers attempting to keep the costs of contraception down? Many years ago, I used to get my birth control pills for free or only a small co-pay. Now they can cost the insured $40 or $50 a month. It would be hard for me to come up with that much money each month for contraception. But what choice would I have?

Some insurance companies are batting around the idea that women should have to pay for additional coverage for possible pregnancies and abortions. That’s like making men pay extra because of the possibility that they might become impotent. And I thought that health insurers were no longer supposed to deny people health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Isn’t being a man or a woman a pre-existing condition?

I plan to dispute my insurance company’s decision about my mammogram but the chances of winning are probably not good. I have to try, though. We all have to try. We need to stick up for ourselves when it comes to health care for ourselves. We need to protest unfair and discriminatory denials. And we need to keep ourselves informed about what’s going on in the world of health insurance.

UPDATE: It seems that my insurer is not refusing to pay for the mammogram, they just applied it to my deductible. They would have paid for it if it had been considered “preventative.” But an additional diagnostic mammogram is not considered preventative. Bottom line is: I still have to pay for it myself.

I asked what would have happened if I did have breast cancer. I was told that once my deductible is used up, the insurance would pay for treatment at 85% until I hit the $5000 deductible for catastrophic illnesses. I told the representative that I found this very confusing. Her answer? “Yes, it certainly is.”





Three Anti-Choice Bills in Ohio

This is an email I received yesterday from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio:

Today is a sad day for women in Ohio.

This afternoon, the Ohio House passed three bills that drastically restrict a woman’s access to vital health care options:

House Bill 125, the “Heartbeat Bill,” would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable via ultrasound. This is before most women even know they are pregnant.  There are no exceptions in the bill for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, or even the health of the mother.  This would be the strictest abortion law in the country.

House Bill 78 would ban abortion after a pregnancy is viable. There are no exceptions in the bill for rape, incest, mental health complications, or fetal abnormalities.

House Bill 79 would exclude abortion coverage under the new health care reform act. Women would not even be able to use their own money to purchase abortion coverage for themselves.

As if this wasn’t enough, we learned late today that Sen. Kris Jordan will soon introduce a bill to completely defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio.  This attack on women’s preventive health care has already been tried in Indiana and Wisconsin.  Low-income Ohio women will now face losing access to basic health care from Planned Parenthood.

What I totally resent about these bills is that the people who voted for them are not representing my position on abortion, nor the position of a large number of their constituents. But what bothers me even more is that the anti-choice position is ultimately an ideology. It is not a sound medical stance. Women sometimes do need abortions and they should not be penalized for or prevented from obtaining them just because some holier-than-thou, heads-in-the-clouds politicians feel more comfortable with a world that is all black or white. To them, abortion is always wrong and carrying a child to term is always right. No ifs, ands or buts.

Anti-choice activists love to recount anecdotes about women who cavalierly use abortion instead of birth control, who feel nothing but relief when they get one, or who could care less about “killing” a baby. This reminds me of when Ronald Reagan spread the story of a mythical welfare queen who drove a Cadillac and lived high on the hog by taking advantage of the system. Funny, no one could actually find that lucky welfare queen.

I’m not saying that there aren’t selfish reasons for having an abortion. But what do we accomplish when we take away the right of millions of women to have a necessary or recommended abortion just to prevent the few who don’t feel bad about it from having one?

Anti-abortionists are trying to make the whole world see the issue the way that they do. But life doesn’t work like that. And neither does democracy. I should have the right to do anything I choose as long as it doesn’t infringe on another’s right to do what she wants to do. Pro-choicers are not trying to force everyone to have abortions. Anti-choicers should not be trying to force everyone to have babies.

Womb Transplants

The latest news on the fertility front is that a 25-year-old Swedish woman is going to have her 56-year-old mother’s womb transplanted into her. Apparently the age of the uterus is not a problem as it would be with eggs or ovaries. This procedure has been successful in animals, but not so far in humans. The only human attempt, which failed after four months due to complications, was in Saudi Arabia eleven years ago. However, doctors are optimistic that womb transplants will eventually be a viable solution for the more than 5,000 women each year who lose their wombs due to various diseases, not to mention women who are born without them.

Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore, director of gynecologic oncology at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, said the procedure should work because of recent developments. “It’s been my opinion and that of my colleagues both in London and Sweden, we all maintain that it can be safely done at this point,” Del Priore said. Del Priore has spent a decade researching the procedure mainly on behalf of his patients. He also expects that once the procedure is approved, donors will come forward out of their desire to help women birth a child.

At present the only way for a woman without a uterus to have a biological child would be by using a surrogate. Some would argue that even surrogacy is tampering with nature more than God intended us to. But I think womb transplants would be a better solution because they would remove the emotional aspects of surrogacy from the equation. A woman is often bothered by the fact that another woman bore and delivered her child.

Ever since the first “test tube” baby was born in 1978, the treatments for infertility have become more sophisticated and successful. It’s now possible to imagine a future with artificial wombs. Why not? At some point in the future, women may no longer be tied to reproduction. A man could oversee the growth of his child in an artificial womb. All he would need would be an egg donor. Women could pursue their interests and careers without having to undergo pregnancies. (And yes, it would remove the danger of maternal mortality and possibly even lower infant mortality.)

If women aren’t the only way to “grow” a baby, will men feel more invested in their offspring? Will women feel less invested? How would it change the way men and women see their roles in society? Will women continue to be seen as the primary caretakers? Or will men begin to feel just as responsible because they would truly, for the first time, have an equal role in reproduction?

I don’t expect to see a day when babies are grown in artificial wombs, but I do think I will see womb transplants become commonplace. And that’s good news for thousands of women.

Frozen Reproductive “Products”: Who Has the Right to Use Them?

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on “Reproductive Options,” in which I discussed the increased options women have today for getting pregnant and having babies. In a science fiction future, we may even be able to “grow” babies in artificial wombs. But for now, the weirdest thing I’ve heard about is the possibility of having posthumous offspring. That’s right: having children after you’re dead.

Israel has been in the news lately because of a case—two cases, actually—where the parents of deceased sons have petitioned the courts to allow them to use their sons’ preserved sperm at some point in the future to create their own grandchildren. In a 2009 case, the deceased was a 15-year-old cancer patient who had had his sperm collected and frozen before he underwent cancer treatment. Against the advice of Israel’s Attorney General, the court ruled that the sperm could be turned over to the boy’s parents as part of his estate and that they could then use the sperm as they wished.

In a more recent case, the parents of a 27-year-old man had his sperm extracted when he was in a coma. Their son subsequently died and his parents are awaiting the verdict of the Attorney General as to whether or not they can use his sperm to impregnate a willing female.

Israel leads the world in reproductive technological innovations.

It has the world’s highest IVF rate: According to a 2006 paper prepared for the Knesset, 1,800 treatment cycles are performed each year per million people, compared to 240 in the United States. Its specialists are among the best on earth, and health insurance there covers unlimited IVF [in-vitro fertilization] attempts up to the birth of two live children. Israel was the first country in the world to legalize surrogate-mother agreements.

I’ve read about cases dating back to the 1990s where courts have had to decide what to do with a couple’s frozen embryos in the event of divorce or death. [See guidelines for addressing this issue in your will.] I can also remember the brouhaha when the first test-tube baby was born in 1978. But even then I’m not sure that all the implications were considered. I certainly don’t remember anyone talking about posthumous grandchildren!

One twist to these stories is the position of pro-lifers about what should be done with “left-over” embryos. Although their concern about disposing of unused fertilized eggs is understandable, what’s their solution? Advertise for surrogate mothers to carry all these embryos to term? How would that even be possible when the embryos “belong” to the couple who created them? (There is one other option: adoption of embryos by third parties. See article about this here.)

Would pro-lifers deny a couple the opportunity to use IVF simply because there might be embryos that will be discarded? Or do they propose that a couple be forced to use all the embryos, even in the case of only one pregnancy? Do we really want more Octomoms?

Then there is the issue of abortion, or in the case of multiples, selective reduction. If a couple decides to have the extra embryos destroyed, are they “committing” abortion? And similarly, if a couple has the right to dispose of extra embryos when they’re undergoing IVF, then why isn’t it all right to have an abortion?

It all comes down to the issue of ownership. If you “own” the products you created, then don’t you have the right to do what you want with them?

If pro-lifers are going to be consistent they also have to be against any procedure that results in embryos that aren’t eventually used. But since it would be impossible to enforce that all embryos be used, their only tenable position is to be against all such technology. And somehow I can’t see them being able to stop people from developing or wanting to take advantage of new ways to solve infertility problems.

If This Isn’t a Threat, What Is?

The following appeared in the Feminist Majority Foundation‘s Feminist News for April 21, 2011. If you’d like to receive these news digests as well as lists of feminist jobs, sign up here.

Wichita Judge fails to issue Preliminary Injunction against Anti-Abortion Activist

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten refused to grant an order sought by the Department of Justice against an anti-abortion activist for sending a threatening letter to Dr. Mila Means, the Kansas doctor who plans to offer abortion services in Wichita. Dr. Means has been the target of anti-abortion protests and harassment since she began training to provide abortion services in December.

“We are dismayed by the Judge’s decision,” said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “However, anti-abortion extremists have been put on notice: every threat against abortion providers will be investigated and challenged,” Spillar continued. “Rigorous prosecution of extremists who are advocating and using violence is the only way to stop this domestic terrorism.”

The Justice Department had accused Angel Dillard of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), a law protecting abortion clinics, and asked that Dillard be prohibited from contacting Means or coming within 250 feet of her home and her office. Dr. Means testified in court that she felt threatened by the letter, and had undertaken numerous security measures in response. Although Judge Marten said that Dillard clearly intended to intimidate Dr. Means, he did not believe the letter constituted a “true threat” prohibited under FACE. [Italics mine.]

Dillard has been associated with anti-abortion groups in Kansas. In an interview with the Associated Press in July 2009, Dillard revealed she had corresponded with Scott Roeder, then in a Wichita jail awaiting trial for the murder of Dr. Tiller. Dillard told AP “With one move, (Roeder) was able…to accomplish what we had not been able to do…So he followed his convictions and I admire that.”

In her letter to Dr. Means, Dillard wrote among other things: “You will be checking under your car everyday – because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.” Later in the letter, Dillard added: “We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it.”

Abortion services have not been available to women in Wichita since Dr. George Tiller’s murder in May 2009. The Feminist Majority Foundation, which conducts the oldest and largest national clinic defense project in the nation, had worked with Dr. Tiller and is assisting Dr. Means and other besieged clinics in some 14 states.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation; Associated Press

The following is the text from the April 21st Rachel Maddow Show about this development:

MADDOW:  On February 23rd on this program, we reported on a death threat—a death threat that had been sent to the doctor in south central Kansas who was trying to become the first abortion provider in that part of the country since Dr. George Tiller was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009.

This death threat said in part, quote, “If Dr. Tiller could speak from hell, he would tell you what a soulless existence you are purposefully considering all in the name of greed.  Thousands of people are already looking into your background, not just in Wichita but from all over the U.S.  They will know your habits and routines.  They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live.

You will be checking under your car every day because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.  We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it.”

After that death threat became public, the federal Department of Justice announced two weeks ago that they have filed a civil complaint against the woman who wrote the threat and sent it to the doctor.  The first step legally was that Justice Department lawyers asked the federal judge for a preliminary order to keep the woman who sent the threat away from the doctor she threatened—to keep a physical distance between them.

The hearing on that request just happened this week.  I‘ll tell you what was decided at the hearing in just one moment.  But one of the amazing things about the radical and violent—or at least pro-violence anti-abortion movement ending up back in court again because of another threat to another doctor is that them being in court has the effect of shining a light on who they are.  And in this specific case, it has shined a light on the connections between these people, this network of people, who commit politically motivated murder or who attempt to do that, or who promote doing that.

It really is a movement.  These folks know each other.  They are not alone.

And here‘s how that looks this week, with this federal court case.  The anti-abortion activist accused of writing the threatening letter is named Angel Dillard.  Ms. Dillard has not denied writing the letter.  Angel Dillard‘s attorney in this hearing was a man named Donald McKinney.  It‘s him on the left outside the courthouse with Angel Dillard yesterday.

Don McKinney participated in the Summer of Mercy protests against Dr.  Tiller in 1991.  Do you remember Kansas‘s radical anti-abortion attorney general Phill Kline?  Phill Kline is currently in the midst of ethics proceedings that could result in his disbarment over the way he pursued charges against Dr. Tiller.  We went to Kansas to cover that earlier this year, you might remember.

As one of Phill Kline‘s final and most controversial acts as attorney general, he hired the same lawyer, Don McKinney, to be a special prosecutor specifically to go after Tiller.  The same doctor who that lawyer had protested against back in the day.

Mr. McKinney, again that‘s him on the left there, Mr. McKinney was controversial not just for having protested against Dr. Tiller at the Summer of Mercy—he was controversial and it was a controversial thing for Phill Kline to make him a special prosecutor because McKinney has hosted as a house guest on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of those protests a member of the Army of God—this man.  Someone who had signed the defensive action statements put out by the Army of God, the statements that demand the murder of abortion providers and declare them morally justified.

You can still see those “Kill a Doctor for Christ” manifestos online in the dark corners of the abortion Internet where all the people who have murdered doctors have tribute pages to them and are celebrated as heroes.  Here‘s one for Paul Hill.

The first time that somebody shot and tried to kill Dr. Tiller in 1993, the assailant was Shelley Shannon.  Shelley Shannon was almost a member of the Army of God.  The Army of God guy we showed you earlier was linked to the lawyer in this current case, he specifically praised Shelley Shannon and her attempt on Dr. Tiller‘s life.  He called her a hero.

Well, Shelley Shannon was in prison for shooting and trying to kill Dr. Tiller.  One of her frequent prison visitors was Scott Roeder.  During the time that Scott Roeder was visiting Shelley Shannon in prison, he too came to think of himself as a member of the Army of God, and it was Scott Roeder, who after stacking (ph) Dr. Tiller and gluing the doors of another clinic shut and after protesting against Dr. Tiller and against abortion for years, and after corresponding frequently with the woman who worked at Operation Rescue in Kansas who had once been convicted of conspiring to bomb a clinic, it was Scott Roeder, Army of God, right—Scott Roeder who finally did what the army of god urges people to do and calls justified.  Scott Roeder in 2009 finally killed Dr. Tiller, shot him to death in Dr. Tiller’s church.

And even though I knew all of that before and I still do occasionally sleep, although it doesn‘t always look like it, here‘s the reason I did not sleep last night—since Scott Roeder has been imprisoned for murdering Dr. Tiller, someone who has contacted him enough to have struck up a jailhouse friendship with him is the author of our death threat, Angel Dillard.

After Dr. Tiller‘s murder, Angel Diller said this to the “Associated Press” about Scott Roeder and what he did.  Quote, “Quite honestly, as soon as I heard about it, I realized that he was able to accomplish what those of us in the pro-life movement had not been able to accomplish—we put millions of man hours in, protested, millions of dollars, attempts at legislation, and we were butting our heads up against the wall.  We were not getting anywhere.

With one move—meaning the murder Roeder was able to accomplish what we had not been able to do.  So, he followed his convictions and I admire that.”

So, while Shelley Shannon is in jail for trying to kill Dr. Tiller, Scott Roeder makes friends with her and ultimately decides she was on to something.  Eventually, he goes on to murder Dr. Tiller himself.  Then, when Scott Roeder is in prison for that, for succeeding in killing Dr.  Tiller, Angel Dillard makes friends with him in jail, and she says she admires what Roeder did in murdering a doctor for providing abortions.

And then she sends a letter to the new doctor who would take Dr.  Tiller‘s place, as south central Kansas‘s next abortion provider.  She sends a letter that directly references Dr. Tiller who has already been killed and tells the new doctor, “someone will put a bomb under your car one day,” and then goes on to say, “We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it.”

So, when lawyers for the Justice Department asked a federal judge in Wichita this week to issue a preliminary order to keep this woman who wrote this threat away from this doctor, this woman who befriended Dr. Tiller‘s murderer and said she admired him for doing it, and then she wrote to the doctor who would replace Dr. Tiller saying there would be explosives under his car someday, the judge said no.  The judge said, and I quote, “I don‘t think this letter constitutes a true threat.”

Joining us now is Kathryn Spillar, with the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Ms. Spillar, thank you very much for joining us.  I appreciate your time.


MADDOW:  I know that you know the facts of this case very well.  Is anything that I said about that strike you as confused or wrong, or did I lay it out in the way that you understand it?

SPILLAR:  I think you laid it out perfectly—perfectly—which is why the judge‘s decision yesterday in this case is so baffling to us.  It was such a clear violation of FACE, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, to have made this threat.  And yet, the judge did not see it as a true threat.

MADDOW:  The woman who wrote this death threat, her attorney argued at the hearing that it wasn‘t directly a threat that Angel Dillard would kill the doctor.  He described it as a warning to the doctor that other people might kill her.  “A,” does that make sense to you, and, “B,” how would something like that be handled under the FACE law, the federal law, that applies here?

SPILLAR:  Well, in fact, she used the word “we.”  We will not tolerate this abomination.  We will do everything feasible to stop you.

So, clearly, she put herself in that camp.  And the way that you evaluate a true threat under FACE is very clear.  Congress laid it out very succinctly.  It is how the threat is perceived by the person who receives the threat.

Is the language clear in the threat?  And, Rachel, you have read parts of the letter.  I think anyone would reasonably understand what was meant by those words—about a bomb under a car, about we know where you live.

The second part of that is the context in which the letter was received or the threat was made.  And clearly, in Wichita, the context is very certain.  Dr. Tiller was murdered less than two years ago, by many—by an individual who this person has been in touch with, at the network of extremists has said that we‘re going to keep Wichita abortion free, and they clearly are willing to use a bullet to do that.

But it‘s interesting.  Under the FACE law, this context is very important, but the Department of Justice doesn‘t even have to prove that this individual has the ability to carry out the threat.  It is simply that the threat was made with the intent of intimidating Dr. Means.  And Dr.  Means was clearly intimidated by this threat.

MADDOW:  This was a preliminary decision by this judge.  We do not know how this judge is going to rule in this case ultimately.  We don‘t know how this case is going to play out.

But, broadly speaking, as somebody who‘s been involved in this field are a long time and studied a lot of the radical edge of this movement, how important do you think it is for the Department of Justice to have brought this case?

SPILLAR:  Oh, it‘s critically important.  The extremists must know that their every action is being scrutinized, and that when the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney believe that a threat has been made or an illegal act has been committed, that they will be prosecuted to the extent of the law.  We‘re very hopeful, obviously, that this decision will ultimately be repealed or that in the further hearings for a permanent injunction, that a permanent injunction will indeed be issued.

There‘s just no question.  Even in the judge‘s mind, he said that Dillard clearly meant to intimidate Dr. Means.

So, we applaud the Department of Justice for taking these cases.  We think that ultimately they will prevail and that indeed these kinds of threes won‘t be tolerated.

What worries us, Rachel, is that in the interim, the extremists will look at this decision and be emboldened by it, and will get even more extreme in some of the threats that they‘re making.  And doctors everywhere across this country already are facing intolerable levels of threats and violence.

So, we do hope that on further hearing, that we‘ll reach a different decision.

MADDOW:  Kathy, to that point, I mentioned this in the introduction, what made me not sleep about this is feeling like I am seeing a pattern here.  It feels like there is a scary pattern here.  And I know that Feminist Majority Foundation does a lot of work studying, as I said, the sort of violent edge of the radical anti-abortion movement.

Is this the pattern that you see among people who are moved ultimately beyond extremism to violent extremism?  That they get in touch with people who have committed violent acts, that they lionize that acts, that they start to think of themselves as part of a movement that promotes violence?

SPILLAR:  There has not been a single murder of a doctor in this country by an individual who was a lone wolf.  In every single case, the person who actually committed the murder has been an active participant in a network of extremists who promote the murder of doctors, who advocate the murder of doctors, who many of them themselves have committed violence.

And the interesting thing too, Rachel, is that many of those who go on to murder start with threats.  Or they start with gluing the locks of clinics, or they start with simple acts of vandalism.  And so, the importance of going immediately and challenging a threat, to interrupt this pattern of ultimately leading to violence is what is so critical about the Department of Justice action.

MADDOW:  Kathryn Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation—thank you very much for helping us to understand this tonight.  I really appreciate it.

SPILLAR:  Thank you.


Plans for Planned Parenthood

In a news story this morning about the possible government shut-down, it was reported that:

There were hints of Republican flexibility on a ban they were seeking to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Officials said that in talks at the White House that stretched on after midnight on Wednesday, Republicans had suggested giving state officials discretion in deciding how to distribute family planning funds that now go directly from the federal government to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

That would presumably leave a decision on funding to governors, many of whom oppose abortion, and sever the financial link between the federal government and an organization that Republicans assail as the country’s biggest provider of abortions.

If this is what happens, that would send a very clear message to Americans: Your federal government does not stand behind reproductive health care for women. Instead, it is willing to leave millions of women at the mercy of their state legislatures, some of which have already demonstrated that they are anti-abortion (and not very friendly toward birth control either).

This, in turn, would weaken Roe v. Wade. After all it is the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled on Roe v. Wade. If the federal government gives in on funding for Planned Parenthood, that might influence the Court the abortion issue ever comes before it again.

What are the chances that will happen? It would take a perfect storm of just the right conditions, according to Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life:

“Ultimately it will require a pro-life president to nominate a pro-life Supreme Court justice who will be confirmed by a pro-life U.S. Senate to provide the fifth pro-life vote on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Lauinger said. “That has been a long-time goal.” Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, Lauinger said the most likely result would be that each state would determine whether abortions would be legal or not. The Supreme Court would return the matter to its status prior to 1973.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this nation would want to go back to conditions before 1973.  When I had my abortion in 1971, New York was the only state that had legalized abortion. I was fortunate because I live relatively close to New York. But what about women, who are going to have an abortion anyway, who don’t have the means to travel to a state where abortion is legal. Will they seek out illegal abortion providers and run the risk of being criminalized for doing so? Will we return to the days when women would try to abort themselves, often dying or making themselves sterile in the process?