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My Body, Not My Choice: The Overturning of Roe vs. Wade

By Mary Grlic

Image via Kent Nishimura, Los Angeles Times.

A Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade was circulated in the court and recently leaked, according to Politico. The opinions in the draft completely reject the laws that protected safe abortion in the United States for the past 50 years. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is frightening for all of our society, as it takes away the principle of choice that was granted to us through the case’s ruling.

What is Roe vs. Wade?

Roe vs. Wade (1973) is A Supreme Court case that has made abortions safe, legal and accessible to birth givers across the United States for nearly 50 years. Prior to Roe vs. Wade, abortion was strictly prohibited in many states across the United States, making it nearly impossible for birth givers to access safe abortion procedures. Norma McCorvey, also known in Supreme Court documents as “Jane Roe,” was a Texan woman who sought to terminate her pregnancy in 1969. Texas had a very strict abortion policy under which one could only end their pregnancy if they were in a life-threatening situation. Some woman would pay large sums of money to get a secret abortion, but many, like McCorvey, would have to get “back-alley” abortions or other self-induced, unsafe abortions. McCorvey’s unsuccessful attempt at one of these secret abortion tactics is what brought her to the courtroom. The court’s ruling in Roe vs. Wade was crucial in giving women and people with uteruses autonomy over their body, as it was a controversial decision, it has been ridiculed by many politicians since it was passed.

What does the overturning of Roe vs. Wade mean?

By overturning Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court will end the constitutional protection of abortion rights. A draft from the SCOTUS overrules Roe vs. Wade and claims that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion” and that abortion is not “implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” Twenty-three states are likely to ban or restrict abortion in the United States following the overturning of Roe.

States that are likely to ban abortion, image via Guttmacher Institute.

The draft was confirmed to be real by the Supreme Court about a day following its leak. However, the Supreme Court will only have a final decision on the issue at a later date. At this moment, however, the jeopardization of Roe vs. Wade is scary enough to make many women feel endangered for their rights.

The ban on abortion is a feminist issue that will dramactically affect women’s rights and the progress that has been made over the past 50 years. For many women, it feels as though we have taken 50 steps backwards in our fight towards equality. Roe vs. Wade was a pivotal case for women; the overturning completely counteracts the principles of choice and freedom that everyone deserves. There is no more “My Body, My Choice,” as male lawmakers are prohibiting the bodily autonomy of all people capable of conceiving across the United States

Why it Matters

The Supreme Court is not solving anything by restricting abortion rights, and is in fact making a more dangerous world for women. Many people consider the recent decision to persist the “War on Women” that has been present in America for many years. By banning abortion, many birth givers will be forced to give birth against their will without the proper resources, healthcare and food assistance to actually sustain a life post-birth. The abortion ban will disproportionally impact minority women, especially latinx, black and indigenous individuals, as well as people with low incomes. People may get an abortion for a variety of reason, and the restriction of this right will prevent them from making safer decisions for themselves.

Abortion rights are a part of public health and safety. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is not effectively banning abortions, but rather banning safe abortions, which can jeopardize the health of many birth givers who wish to have an abortion. There is nothing about banning abortion that would sustain life; the only way to actually protect life is by giving everyone proper access to birth control, sexual education, contraceptives and other methods to ensure sexual safety and health.

By restricting a women’s right to choose, the Supreme Court is regressing the women’s rights progress that was made 50 years ago. Many have gone to social media to criticize the Court’s decision. With the Met Gala’s theme being the Gilded Age, much of social media has poked fun at the fact that the Court’s new ruling was more on theme than many of the outfits. And surely, the decision is: by ruling against abortion rights, The Supreme Court is restricting women's fundamental right to choose and have autonomy over their bodies.

What you can do

Many individuals have taken a stand to this ruling by participating in rallies and protests to speak up for abortion rights. Please take any action you can in protecting abortion rights. Whether it be through posting on social media or participating in a protest, your role can be crucial in protecting rights for all women and birth givers. If you can, support organizations dedicated to providing quality health and sexual care, like Planned Parenthood.

Written by Writer Mary Grlic

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