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Roe v. Wade: 40 years later

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: January 22, 2013

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

This past weekend, Carla Hinton and I finished our project about the anniversary.

In one of Carla’s stories, she wrote about a large group of young people who will participate in the March for Life on Friday. A total of 220 high school and college-age Oklahomans will participate in the march.

These young people are apparently in the minority of people younger than 30 who even know what Roe v. Wade is about.

The Pew Research Center recently found that there seems to be an age gap in who knows what the case was about:

Decades after the Supreme Court rendered its decision, on Jan. 22, 1973, most Americans (62%) know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion rather than school desegregation or some other issue. But the rest either guess incorrectly (17%) or do not know what the case was about (20%). And there are substantial age differences in awareness: Among those ages 50 to 64, 74% know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion, the highest percentage of any age group. Among those younger than 30, just 44% know this.

I’m not sure how surprising those numbers are. The poll also revealed that:

Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday.

For the anniversary, The Daily Beast created a map of the 724 remaining abortion clinics and the closest clinic in every part of the country. The map also provides information about state laws regarding wait times, medication restrictions, ultrasound provisions and insurance restrictions.

There’s a white stripe through the middle of the U.S. where no clinic is within between 200 and 300 miles. The map becomes even more interesting when you choose “Show female population, ages 15-44″ on the map and see where most women in that age group live.

The Oklahoma Legislature regularly sees bills regarding abortion, and this session will be no different. For example, this session, another “personhood” bill has been filed:

One of the most divisive issues of the 2012 legislative session apparently will be revisited this spring, with at least one “personhood” bill already filed.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, is author of House Bill 1029, the Personhood Act of 2013. As written, the bill appears to be virtually identical to one that led to a bitter fight in the House before failing to get a vote on the floor.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar bill last year.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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