The way forward

Published 5:00 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

While initially in mourning after the overturning of Roe v. Wade and following a discussion I had with two women more conservative than I, I have shifted my focus to how we move forward.

 I am grateful that in Virginia women still have choices and have read that Virginia’s governor is planning to introduce a 15-week limit. I am hoping that we will take the time to actually have the discussion about the hard topics of this ongoing societal dilemma. Some seem to be screaming at each other so much that hearing each other is virtually impossible.

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Given how people work, there are far more people in the middle on a topic than there are at the ends. Yet, we have allowed “the fewer people at the ends” to frame and run the discussion about full-spectrum women’s health care. I think it’s time for those of us in the middle to figure out where we stand and to find a way to institute it. Repeated polls indicate at least 60% of Americans think that the protections in Roe should continue. 

The age of viability always made sense to me: “If this organization of cells is unable to exist outside my body, then, it is my choice how I deal with it.” I think I understand that for some people, the increasingly sophisticated collection of cells looks more and more recognizable and hence should be protected. So, what is a time frame on which most of us in the middle can agree? Significant involvement of women, representing the array of women in the commonwealth, would be important since “our bodies are the battleground on which this conflict is being waged.” 

Fifteen weeks, as our governor proposes, seems short to me. I would like to have information on what’s a reasonable amount of time for a pregnant person to know she is pregnant and have time to make a considered decision. I would like information from medical professionals about the biological and health care aspects. And I would like information on Canada’s laws related to women’s health care decisions in addition to laws in France, the UK and Australia. 

The U.S. already has the worst maternal outcomes of the industrialized nations. I would hate to see it get worse.  


Jo Weaver