Volume > Issue > A Woman's 'Right to Choose' Is a Woman's Right to Lose

A Woman’s ‘Right to Choose’ Is a Woman’s Right to Lose


By Carol Crossed | June 1998
Carol Crossed is a leader of the Seamless Garment Network. This article is adapted from her speech to the City Club of Cleveland on January 23, 1998.

This year marks 25 years of the regime instituted by the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, a regime in which, contrary to the civic inspiration of America and in betrayal of our ideals and tradition, we have treated a whole class of persons as nonpersons.

Deep in my bones is some knowledge of what it is to be a nonperson, for my great-grandmother was a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, and in 1838 this whole people was removed from its ancestral home in Georgia and marched to a reservation in Oklahoma a thousand miles away. Their possessions in their arms, their infants on their backs, the old and ill in wagons, guarded by federal troops under the command of General Scott, the people went on foot across Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains and Kentucky, with many dying along the way.

And one day the people simply stopped. General Scott ordered them forward, but no one moved. The story goes that the General sought out the elders and told them to order their people onward. The elders simply sat and shook their heads. The General was angry and adamant. One wise old woman looked up at him and explained, “We cannot move forward. You see, our souls have not yet caught up to our bodies.”

Our nation’s path since Roe v. Wade has likewise been a trail of tears, littered with dead bodies. After 25 years it is time to call a halt, to let our souls catch up to our bodies. Our ethics must catch up to our science, our morality to our technology, and our responsibility to our license. We must examine carefully this deadly doctrine that some persons are nonpersons.

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