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should decide? What had been a topic that was never discussed in public gradually became a raging national debate. The fight spilled into state legislatures. First, California and Colorado relaxed their laws, even permitting a woman’s mental state to be considered, and other states began debating outright repeal. As women debated abortion, the question increasingly resolved itself not into “Should I or shouldn’t I, and under what circumstances?” but into “Who decides?” And women increasingly began to answer: “We should.” Many women \(among them Sissy Farenthold of Texas, a Catholic who would never consider having an File photo tions the government should decide especially since government at the time was almost exclusively male and, of course, to young women, appeared to be a set of clueless old fogies. Their right to make such a crucial decision for us was not apparent to us. And Catholic bishops, as a group, didn’t look like they would ever have to face a choice about what to do if they’d been raped. From the point of view of women of my generation, abortion itself was never that clear-cut an issue. We differed vastly on where we drew our lines; I always knew I could never have an abortion because I wanted children too much. Despite the repeated denunciations of “abortion as birth control,” I have never known a single woman who had an abortion casually, as just some episode she could toss out of her mind. Many whom I knew as the hardest fighters for the right of women to make their own decisions are women who themselves “had to get married” or who had babies and gave them up for adoption. The infuriating thing about the laws before Roe v. Wade was that we, the women who had to make these choices, were .being told what to do by people who did not know us, did not know our circumstances, who would never have to face the same choices themselves, but seemed perfectly happy to make decisions that in some cases would ruin our lives or even kill us. Among active feminists, the efforts to get the courts to rule were followed closely. When Roe v. Wade came out of Texas, we weren’t sure it was the right case, and certainly Sarah Wedding ton, at twenty-six, was not a big name among feminists or lawyers. If you have never heard Weddington tell the story of how she came to argue that case, I recommend her book, A Question of Choice. The decision came down on January 22, 1973. We met in hallways, in restrooms that day; we called one another all over the country. Of course, we cried and thanked God, the court, Sarah, one another. Those who had lost friends or family members to restrictive abortion laws and I include not just those who died of botched abortions or who committed suicide under the pressure but those who had nervous breakdowns from unwanted pregnancies, those v, hose bad abortions resulted in hysterectomies, and those who in other ways never recovered we remembered them, in church and elsewhere. We thought it was the most glorious, most wonderful, most liberating victory, as important to us as the Civil Rights Act to black people. We thought it meant the end of so much pain and terror, so much agony and death. We never envisioned the burgs, the bombings, the murders that would come. We just thougl fe had, finally, won the right to make our own decisions Molly Ivins, a former Obs, vet editor and a nationally syndicated commentator, grew up in h Euston and Austin. She has been covering the contemporary abort wars since the first skirmish. PFQ COMPUTING ‘ THE PASSION FOR QUALITY” We’d like to sh:, Ission with you… SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. FO ons in medicine, law, business, commerce. PCs es . Client/server, Web. Visual Basic, Visual C++, ; viodeler, VBScript, ActiveX, Java, Microsoft Active Server Pages, SQL Server, other ODBC databases, Microsoft Merchant Server, Microsoft Access 97, and Visual InterDev, others. Windows 95/NT, Unix, DOS. NETWORK INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE. Whether you’re using Novell or NT, Ethernet or Token Ring, BNC or Cat 5, 10 megabit or 100, LAN or WAN, you need our expert installation and maintenance. MCSE and CNA engineering staff. WEB DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN. Third generation design, combining graphics excellence with software hand tuning to create faster loading web pages that keep visitors coming back. MANAGEMENT SCIENCE. We can, at your option, go further than simple software design: we can evaluate, formulate, and “clean up” your business rules, to gain efficiencies by looking at the human side of your organization and the interaction between your people and your technologies. call FEBRUARY 27, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER * 11