A woman’s body is hers to control

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I have long been clear, “I have the right to make decisions about my body and what is done to it.”

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided to have surgery and radiation. I also decided to forgo the multiyear medication regimen that would reduce my recurrence rate from 9% to 7%. I was taken aback this past week when I read a news report stating that Glenn Youngkin would conceal his real position on abortion for fear of alienating the “independent vote.”

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My belief in my right to make decisions about my body goes back a long way. I felt obligated to be clear about my thoughts and feelings and I decided, “If some part of me, inside my body, is totally dependent on me for existence, I have the right to make the decision how I will proceed.”

For a long time, I was a one-issue voter … and it seems I may be again. I use psychology’s definition of “Age of Viability,” which relates to “at what point a premature baby can survive outside the womb.” The time frame is 22 to 26 weeks, with survival being slim at 22-23 weeks and increasing to 85% at 26-28 weeks.

Research done in 2019 by NPR/PBSNewsHour/Marist poll indicated that 77% of Americans want Roe v. Wade upheld and only 13% of the population want it overturned. Within the 77% who want it upheld, there is variability: 26% want it to stay in place with added restrictions, 21% want it expanded to every circumstance, 16% want to keep it the way it is and 14% want some restrictions reduced.

Given the above information it is difficult for me to understand the current push to legislate women’s reproductive processes. A group, of predominantly men, wants to legislate what can happen inside a woman’s body. It seems pretty extreme to me. I am often intrigued that we are without commensurate legislative pushes, with some teeth to back them up, mandating men take responsibility, at least financially, for the genetic offspring they engender.

Jo Weaver