Just a reminder that the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was written by a lifelong Republican
Maria Oswalt /Unsplash (left), Wikimedia Commons (right)

Few topics are as politically polarizing as the issue of abortion. Those of us who are middle aged and younger have always known the abortion debate divided between the political right and left, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats.

But that has not always been the case.

In fact, it was mostly Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justices who made the case for choice in 1973.

Roe vs. Wade was decided with a 7-2 vote, and not along partisan lines. Those who ruled in favor were as follows, with the president who nominated them and the party of that president indicated in parentheses:

  • Harry Blackmun (Nixon, R)
  • Lewis Powell (Nixon, R)
  • Warren Burger (Nixon, R)
  • William Brennan (Eisenhower, R)
  • Potter Stewart (Eisenhower, R)
  • Thurgood Marshall (LBJ, D)
  • William Douglas (FDR, D)

Those who dissented on Roe vs. Wade:

  • Byron White (Kennedy, D)
  • William Rehnquist (Nixon, R)

So five Republican-nominated justices and two Democrat-nominated justices ruled for choice, while one Republican and one Democrat-nominated justice ruled against.


A lifelong Republican justice, Harry Blackmun, wrote the majority opinion in the case, which basically stated that state laws that unduly restrict abortion were unconstitutional—not specifically because a woman had a right to choose to have an abortion, but because of a the right to privacy under the 14th amendment.

When viewed as a private medical decision, the fact that the party-of-less-government-interference Republicans ruled that way makes perfect sense. It has always struck me as odd that the party who advocates for less government regulation and less government interference in our lives would be the one to push for the government to stick its nose into people's personal medical decisions. It turns out, they've only pushed that argument during my adult lifetime.

There are, of course, debates to be had about when a person should be considered a person with full rights and protections under the law, and people are free to debate the moral questions that come with the personal and/or medical reasons people choose to abort a pregnancy. But there's no question that abortion is a medical decision, which automatically makes it an issue of privacy. That has not changed since 1973. That has not changed since Republicans ruled in favor of choice.

It's only since the religious right aligned itself with the Republican party in a direct way (and vice versa) that making abortion illegal became a Republican stance.

Interestingly, that relationship—and the corruption that inevitably results in when religious ideology slips into bed with politics—even played out in the life of "Jane Roe" herself. The woman in the landmark case who pushed for choice, whose real name was Norma McCorvey, ended up publicly changing her stance and pushing an anti-abortion message for decades.

Then, in her dying days, she confessed that it was all an act—that she had been paid by anti-abortion activists to put out that messaging.

AKA Jane Roe | Deathbed Confession Highlight | FX www.youtube.com

Despite how passionate some people's anti-abortion stances are today—and how politicians use that passion to garner support—abortion has not always been a big, controversial political issue. For much of Western history, abortion was viewed as a private matter between a woman and a doctor, and history also shows that making abortion illegal doesn't make abortions not happen.

Since the only things proven to reduce abortion rates are comprehensive sex education, easy and affordable access to birth control, and access to healthcare in general; since choice was originally a Republican-led stance as evidenced by the Roe vs. Wade ruling; and since abortion rates have fallen consistently for the past four decades—more drastically under Democrat administrations than Republican, oddly enough—and are currently at record lows, overturning Roe vs. Wade in an attempt to end abortion seems like a strange goal to pin one's partisan hat on.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less

Part of the reason why the O.J. Simpson trial still captures our attention 25 years later is because it's filled with complexities - and complexities on top of complexities at that. Kim Kardashian West finally opened up about her experience during the O.J. Simpson trial on the third season of David Letterman's Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, adding another layer to the situation.

Kardashian, who was 14 at the time, said she was close to Simpson before the trial, calling him "Uncle O.J." The whole Kardashian-Jenner brood even went on a family vacation in Mexico with the Simpsons just weeks before Nicole's murder.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

We've heard that character is on the ballot this election—but also that policy matters more than personality. We've heard that integrity and honesty matter—but also that we're electing the leader of a nation, not the leader of a Boy Scout troop.

How much a candidate's character matters has been a matter of debate for decades. But one of the odd juxtapositions of the Trump era is that arguably the most historically immoral, character-deficient candidate has been embraced by the evangelical Christian right, who tout morality more than most. Trump won the right's "moral majority" vote by pushing conservative policies, and there is a not-so-small percentage of "one issue" voters—the issue being abortion—who are willing to overlook any and all manner of sin for someone who says they want to "protect the unborn."

So when a prominent, staunchly pro-life, conservative Christian pastor comes out with a biblical argument that basically says "Yeah, no, the benefit doesn't outweigh the cost," it makes people sit up and listen.


Keep Reading Show less