In his column “A younger generation rethinks abortion, for good reasons” (Opinion, June 10), Jeff Jacoby suggests that millennials are less likely than previous generations to support abortion rights. Instead of asserting that millennials have seen the “grim images of abortion,” I would argue, rather, that millennials have not seen the horrors of illegal abortion.
One only needs to speak to women of my mother’s generation or my women’s health colleagues who practiced before Roe v. Wade to get a glimpse of what a world without legal abortion looked like. It is estimated that between the 1950s and ’60s, as many as 1 million illegal abortions were performed in a given year; in 1965, 17 percent of all deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth were the result of illegal abortions.
As a millennial, I can safely say that none of my peers describes himself or herself as a “survivor of Roe.” Instead, I look at the older women in my life as survivors of a time in which their reproductive freedom was not guaranteed and they were forced to risk their health to control their lives. I am grateful to past and current advocates of reproductive justice for working to ensure that people of my generation have the ability to determine how, when, and if they become parents.
The writer is a certified nurse midwife.