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What Roe v. Wade means for Twenty-Somethings

As I venture my way through my early twenties, I’ve come to realize that my generation has become a fish tank for our younger and older counterparts. We are viewed as entitled (You expect me to pay my cell phone bills?! Do you think groceries grow on trees?) yet we desperately yearn for what we imagined our independent twenties would be like (walking briskly with a cup of Starbucks, probably on our way from one world-changing meeting to the next) and to be taken seriously and trusted. There are countless articles, books, movies, TV shows written about our generation – but you really don’t know what it’s like to be in our shoes. (Shameless plug: Check out This is Personal’s Not in Her Shoes blog!)

We are truly in a state of transition, but that doesn’t make us any less of an adult, and that doesn’t make us any less capable of making our own decisions. We’re all learning and we need the freedom to be trusted to make decisions for our own private lives.

As a twenty something, on top of worrying about my career path, or grad school, or whether the fact that I texted somebody I’m dating means the downfall of courtship as we know it, I also have become increasingly worried about the growing threats to my right to make decisions about my future – issues that many think were settled ages ago.

Roe v. Wade, known widely by my peers as “that abortion case”, ultimately gave women the right to make our own decisions about our lives. The fact that this case is based on a right to privacy is often overlooked by my peers. But, for me, privacy is the whole point. It is why I believe so strongly that these decisions should essentially be left to the individual. It is private.

To get some perspective, I asked my friends who are not as into women’s issues as I am (I am – surprise, surprise - the token feminist in all my groups of friends) what they thought about Roe v. Wade and what they thought about people trying to overturn it. Their response?

Friend 1: “The abortion case? What the… – why? People need to seriously stay away from my uterus. I don’t understand.”

Friend 2: “Are you serious? I honestly don’t think it’s anybody’s business but my own. Do you remember that time I had that scare? I made an appointment with a clinic – thankfully it was just a scare but I mean I wasn’t ready for a child then and I’m not ready for one now. Med school doesn’t exactly allow a lot of time to raise a baby. Maybe sometime in the future, but I need to focus on me, right now.”

Because we have grown up with the belief that these rights are available to us, it was shocking for my friends to learn they could be taken away. Although our educational backgrounds and interests vary, we all agreed that what we decided to do with our bodies is OUR private business.

To get a different perspective, I asked a girlfriend who is religious the same question. Even she thought the right to abortion shouldn’t be banned completely. Describing herself as “a believer of life” and a born again Christian she said that, “For that fundamental fact, I want to say no, abortion should not be legalized, no we should not murder the precious creation of God”. However, she went on to say that “There are so many other factors that don’t make this such a clear, black or white answer.” She seemed deeply sympathetic for women in some circumstances, yet unsympathetic to others where she felt that people had not taken personal responsibility.

This notion of taking responsibility of your actions is something that is ingrained in us as we go from adolescents to adults. As twenty-something adults, we should be trusted to take responsibility in a way we see fit – not be told one way is better than the other.

Just as every woman’s situation leading up to the decision of abortion is personal and private, the way they deal with taking responsibility is also personal and private. We have fought for many years to be entrusted to make decisions and tackle problems on our own.

Why is it so difficult for some people to trust women to take responsibility of their situation and to be able to choose whether or not to have an abortion? Why do some people think that women are incapable of making healthy and reasonable decisions for ourselves?

I have a question for those people, especially the lawmakers, who believe that “taking responsibility and ownership” of a situation can only mean “having a child.” Will those lawmakers take responsibility for THEIR decision and pass laws that support struggling mothers?

There are some things that need legislating. A woman’s right to make her own life decisions is not one of them. We are strong, smart, and capable of living a life we set for ourselves. We don’t need any more assistance (that are actually barriers) to get there. All of our situations are different and all of our life paths are different. It’s personal, it’s private and it’s our lives.

We do our own grocery shopping, file taxes, do our own laundry and pay our way through student debt… please trust us with our own business.

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