Friday, August 19, 2022

Editorial: Possible overturn, Roe V. Wade

The amount of times any minority has needed to defend their right to their own body, at this point, has been exhausting and ridiculous.

Those who are having these rights threatened are tired of wasting their breath on a partisan issue that should not be a political argument in the first place.

The right to a safe and medically professional procedure is now being threatened again, and many are worried a safe and legal abortion may not be an option anymore. Why?

Well, Roe v. Wade, one of the most important court cases in United States history since 1970, is now most likely to be overturned. 

The Supreme Court confirmed a leaked opinion draft obtained and released by Politico May 2, describing the future restrictions of many citizens, in which the draft also has support of five of the nine of the court justices. According to New York Times, President Joe Biden warned that “the potential ruling could undermine the right to privacy beyond just abortion, endangering a series of rights that Americans have come to expect, including same-sex marriage.”

“If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision,” Biden said. “It basically says ‘all the decisions related to your private life, who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions,’” are now being up for question in the ruling of the Supreme Court.

As draft opinions change during evaluation of the court, the decision of upholding Roe v. Wade is looking bleak, as many of the justices are predominantly conservative, siding with the right to a fetus’s life. Within the 1970 case, Jane Roe, a name used in documents to protect the plaintiff’s identity, also known as Norma McCorvey, wished to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in 1969. She then challenged the Texas statue on banning abortion, as at the time, abortion was only legal in Texas for the sole purpose of saving a women’s life.

Many women in the 50s and 60s resorted to illegal abortions, whether performed by a doctor illegally in a private household, self-inflicted abortions and most likely performing other unsafe acts. No one should have had to do that. However, many did not have an option under the tightly bound laws in states around them. With the rollbacks on abortion rights now, many are becoming afraid these unsafe procedures will become normalized again.

In the Roe v. Wade case, being led by attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, McCorvey argued that the law violated the right to privacy, which is listed in the 14th amendment of the constitution, and threatened their rights under amendments first, fourth, fifth and ninth. In June 1970, a Texas district court ruled that the state’s abortion ban was illegal because it violated a constitutional right to implicit privacy. The case was then appealed on a federal level to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the 7-2 voting decision struck down the Texas statue, legalizing the right to an abortion across the U.S. Jan. 22, 1973. 

Under the legalization of the procedure, the court ruled that the choice to end pregnancy before the end of the first trimester was up to the woman carrying the child. However, the court had a right to regulate abortion during the second trimester in order to protect a women’s health, regardless of the mother’s wishes or circumstances of having the pregnancy. The state also held the right to regulate abortion to protect a fetus that could survive on its own during the third trimester, as long as a woman was OK in her own health. 

However, since this case, many states have implemented legislation that extremely restricts anyone from the right to a safe abortion, as Texas in 2021 passed Senate Bill 8, a law that bans abortion as early as six weeks in pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. This law is immoral, infringing on the moral rights of one’s body and forcing them to have a child they may not have known they had in the first place, especially in cases of rape. In 2018, Mississippi state legislators also introduced a law banning abortions after 15 weeks. The U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the law, finding that it violated the right to an abortion before fetal viability – which it literally does. 

Mississippi still has bans in place under the state, as stated under the only open abortion clinic in the state, “women can obtain legal abortion procedures only up to 16 weeks of pregnancy.” As some may not even know or have access to these procedures until after that length of time, it is ridiculous to think this is what states have succumbed to. 

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, if it does happen within the final decision in the upcoming summer, it is threatening decades of womens’ fight against their own rights being in jeopardy. It is dehumanizing those who have fought tirelessly within the feminist movement to obtain these rights, and it is once again making Americans into a mockery. As this country has been built on the decisions of white, cisgender men since the beginning, it’s ironic that this is happening once again in an age where our ideologies and philosophies of the world are constantly shifting, and people are beginning to become more accepting of race, gender, identity and sex. This is happening when poverty rates are still at large, foster care and homelessness numbers are rising, discriminatory and bigoted legislation is being challenged but not enough, and institutions are finally taking some accountability for their actions in our climate crisis – in which it isn’t even plausible for children to have a safe and bright future in an environment that is consistently deteriorating day by day. If many people do not have a choice, these issues will only increase in numbers. And the worst part is, not enough is being done to stop or slow these issues. 

To say this is a disappointment is only the tipping edge of the scary future we are entering. It’s sad that in a country that preaches freedom, people do not hold that freedom to their own bodies, beliefs, futures and voice. It’s tiring to say the least. 

Taking away legal abortions isn’t stopping them from happening — it’s stopping safe ones. 

The backlash legislators are going to get in the high courts is going to be overwhelming, but for good reason. The right to obtain birth control, proper medical care facilities for multiple health reasons, and basic human rights are now under review by a set of people where the legislation being enacted is not going to affect the majority of the high courts. How can legislators make a decision over someone else’s body, especially in a cisgender male-run institution who may have never experienced the mental and physical turmoil those with uteri have had to go through?

The push back is not going to stop. Voices will not be silenced. With each new sign, each new peaceful protest, each article written, and each call to the Capitol, the fight for justice is far from over.

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