It was spring 1973. I was sitting in front of a panel of 3 older women. Older I say because I was 21 and they had already lived decades before me. This interview was for a resident advisor position at my college for the upcoming year. I had been encouraged to apply for the position by my dorm director. I really wanted the position to help offset upcoming college expenses.
The panel asked a variety of questions and the interview seemed to progress quite well … until one scenario/question was asked of me. One woman on the panel explained this scenario and asked the question: a young girl at your dorm asks if you could drive her to an appointment the next day. Her boyfriend’s car broke down, needs to get fixed; therefore, she is looking for a ride the next morning so she can make her appointment. She tells you her appointment is for her to get an abortion, would you drive her to the appointment?
I was quiet. I looked at the 3 women. I thought long and hard about the ramifications of my answer. I thought about this young girl in this scenario and how it could someday be a possible real scenario. What would I do?
I looked at the 3 women again and asked my question. Do you want me to tell you the answer you want to hear … and I thought a few seconds again before continuing … or do you want to know what I would do?
I knew earlier in the year, January 1973, there had been a landmark decision with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s liberty to choose an abortion without government restriction. Roe v. Wade
They looked at me. I am not even sure they ever answered my question because I kept talking. I was incensed with what I knew at that moment was a generational gap in truly understanding a “woman’s choice”. It means the woman chooses. It may not be my choice, but it is also not my decision to make … each woman chooses for themself.
I repeated the question … what would I do, drive this young girl to her appointment … I then answered, yes. I also explained this girl had already taken time to think and decide what was best for herself. Plus, besides making her decision, the appointment and the plan on how to get to the appointment had been set. Now she needed help; I would drive her.
I got up from my chair and left the room knowing there would be no resident advisorship in my future. I spoke with my dorm director about the entire interview. I explained my need to stay true to myself, to answer honestly and not play a game to be considered for a position. I believe each woman is more than capable to think what is best for her situation and still believe that to this day, 49 years later.
Why is government and other men and women making decisions about a woman’s body? It is none of their business. Decisions belong to the woman, made by the woman, it is their body, their decision. You do not need to like it or love it; it is not your decision! Let the woman walk in her own shoes with the decision she made … and you walk in your own and make the decision you wish for your own body. Hands off each other!
Recent rulings are not respecting women or an individual’s ability to choose … I worry about the slippery slope that may be ahead … and it will be more than just this issue. Time will tell.