As the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches on Jan. 22—and with the Supreme Court set to revisit women’s fundamental right to access abortion in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole case, the most serious threat to abortion since 1992—the Ms. Blog decided to look back at the realities of illegal abortion pre-Roe, and for women today who lack access to proper care.
As part of our #WeWontGoBack campaign, Ms. Blog readers are sharing their own stories, or the stories of friends and family members who have resorted to illegal abortions because they had no choice. Use the hashtag to share your story on social media. Below, read a poem about how abortion impacted a family.
By Patty Dembski*
Parallel lives, a generation apart.
Mother and daughter.
Keepers of the bond.
Devout Roman Catholic women.
Rosaries and Hail Marys.
Keepers of the faith.
And unfaithful and indiscrete husbands.
Keepers of the vows.
Unplanned and unwanted.
With seeds planted by men unworthy.
Keepers of the scorn.
Without support or confidants.
Alone in their quiet desperation.
Keepers of the terror.
Using underground networks and resources.
Doing what they believe they must do.
Keepers of self-determination.
Ashamed yet relieved.
Wanting to forgive and be forgiven.
Keepers of the secret.
Surviving illegal and unhygienic methods.
Controlling their own bodies and lives.
Keepers of the right to choose.
Their stories unveiled after their deaths.
Not so different from so many others.
Keepers of every woman’s unspoken heritage.
*A pen name was used because family members still prefer to remain keepers of the story.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user ClinicEscort licensed under Creative Commons 2.0