OPINION: We cannot allow abortion to be banned

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Photo courtesty of Mark Dixon (CC BY 2.0)

The recent leaked Supreme Court majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade is a violation of human rights and must be fought against.

While we were all gawking at dresses and judging celebrity couples at the Met Gala, the world turned upside down for people with a uterus. A leaked Supreme court draft opinion from Politico on May 2 revealed the majority of the Supreme Court was favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that stated abortion was a Constitutional right. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, the decision of whether or not to outlaw abortion would fall on the states. Twenty-six states already have laws on the books or ones that would come into play if Roe v. Wade is overturned. We are going backwards as a society. We should not have to fight for the same things that our grandparents fought for. For almost half a century, abortion has been protected under Roe v. Wade, supported by a persons right to privacy. Now, all of that is at stake, and to say it is a tragedy is not even beginning to skim the surface. 

I am not here to argue about the morality of abortion, whether a fetus should be considered a human being or if there should be an exception for rape and incest. The possible overturn of Roe v. Wade is an issue deeper than politics or religious beliefs. It is a person’s right to choose what happens to their own body. 

As a teenage girl who could someday need an abortion, this draft is absolutely terrifying. It tells me that our Supreme Court does not care about women’s rights, but only controlling women’s bodies. But in reality, this is not about me. I am lucky enough to live in a state where likely nothing will change if Roe v. Wade is overturned. My family has the resources for me to travel to another state or country to get an abortion if it came to that one day. This decision is going to disproportionately impact people in poverty: those who will now be hundreds of miles away from the nearest clinic, and those who cannot afford (either the time or the money) to travel out of state or out of the country to receive treatment. 

In the 98-page majority draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, he stated that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision had damaging consequences.” This is completely incorrect. To say that allowing people the right to an abortion has “damaging consequences” is outrageous, as  it has been proven that allowing abortion saves lives. Banning abortions will only prevent  safe abortions. Those who cannot get legal abortions where they live and cannot afford to travel will resort to back-alley abortions or unsafe pills that put their life at stake. Banning abortion does not save lives, it does the opposite. 

We have come so far in ensuring the rights of women, LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalized groups. To think that this can all be undone by defining the right to privacy is simply horrifying and, frankly, makes me quite scared for the future of our nation. ”

One of the scariest parts of the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade are the other implications that it could have. If the threat to health in this country is not enough, because the decision behind Roe v. Wade is based on the right to privacy established by the fourteenth amendment, overturning it could put other similarly based cases at stake. Griswold v. Connecticut (the case that ensures the right to birth control) and Obergefell v. Hodges (the case that legalized gay marriage) are just two of the more well known right to privacy cases that could also be at risk of being overturned. Lawyers could use the same reasoning that Justice Alito used to overturn Roe v. Wade to try to overturn these other cases, which is terrifying. 

Another consequence of overturning Roe v. Wade is the criminalization of miscarriage; the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Medically, it is difficult to differentiate between an abortion and an unintended and devastating miscarriage. Therefore, it would be hard to prove that someone did not cause their own misscarriage. If abortion is illegal, it would not be a stretch to think that people who have misscarriages could be held legally responsible. 

Our country still has a ways to go, but we have come so far in ensuring the rights of women, LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalized groups. To think that this can all be undone by defining the right to privacy is simply horrifying and, frankly, makes me quite scared for the future of our nation. 

This is a leaked draft. While it all looks hopeless, nothing is set in stone and draft opinions change.We have to continue to fight, to protest, in order to show the Supreme Court and our government that we will not stand for this. To quote the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “The side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.” We are on the side of change. We cannot and will not allow our country to go back decades.


Photo credit: “Roe v Wade Rally Pittsburgh” by Mark Dixon is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)