Ever since the Supreme Court in the United States legalized abortion back in 1973, Roe v. Wade has been one of the defining fault lines in US politics.
For five decades, it has resulted in Democratic politicians standing by abortion rights, while the lawmakers from the Republican end have always lined up the opposition. What is quite interesting to note is that back in 1973, the political lines were heavily blurred. Both the Democrats as well as the Republicans had stated that this procedure should be made legal and equal for both. So, this begs the question- what changed over five decades, that the new change in the law made the country into two definite halves?
Abortion Law- A Division In The Country
In 1970, abortion on demand was allowed in just four states. Fourteen other states allowed the procedure under massive circumstances. Although the Catholic Church opposed abortion even then, it gained support from the Southern Baptist Convention, which was the largest denomination of evangelicals in the country, who went on record and stated that abortion should be allowed.
One can understand that none of the parties thought that this would be a defining issue. In fact, Betty Ford, the Republican First Lady, considered this to be an amazing decision in the history of the United States. On the other hand, a young Senator with the name of Joe Biden thought that maybe the ruling went a tad bit too far. So yet again, the question stands- when did it all change?
The major struggles in the abortion law began in the next couple of decades when conservative activists like Phyllis Schlafly seized on the issue of traditionalist values to spread their propaganda. They also found support from the evangelical churches- which had gotten a taste of politics and wanted to go further along the way. These groups put abortion as a major threat to the intrinsic American family structure- along with other social issues like gay rights, and an increase in divorce rates.