Abortion was made legal across the US after a landmark legal ruling in 1973, often referred to as the Roe v Wade* case, recognised that the decision whether to continue or end a pregnancy belongs to the individual, not the government.
*(named ‘Roe v Wade’ because of who filed the law suit-
‘Jane Roe’, the pseudonym of rape survivor Norma McCorvey, who couldn’t get a termination in 1969 because her life wasn’t in danger, and thus challenged Texas abortion laws- at the time, abortion was illegal in Texas unless it was done to save the mother’s life. It was a crime to get an abortion or to attempt one,
and because of who defended the anti-abortion laws, Henry Wade).
Following the ruling, for the first time, reproductive decision-making (i.e., the right to an abortion) were placed alongside other fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Despite the majority (61%) of Americans holding the opinion that abortion should be legal, horrifyingly, last year (June 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion, upheld for nearly half a century, no longer exists. Individual states are now able to ban the procedure again, with half of the states in the US expected to do just that, to either outlaw, or severely restrict, abortion.
As a result, one in three women now live in states where abortion is not accessible.
The court decision means that young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.
‘From the very moment of fertilisation, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest costs.’
The idea that a woman could be raped, the biggest violation in my opinion, for it is something that you can’t get away from- you have to live inside the crime scene that is your body every single day- and be forced to endure 9 months of pregnancy, a constant reminder of the way her autonomy was taken from her, and have her rapists baby, is disgusting. And yet, that is what the overturning of Roe V Wade is going to see happening to women. all the time.
Abortions Won’t Become ‘Fewer’, They Will Just Become Riskier…
An important consideration; as is the case when anything gets criminalised, people will still have abortions, they will just go ‘underground.’
According to the Guttmacher Institute, in the years before abortion was legalised, there were over one million illegal abortions performed in the US annually. After Roe V Wade, that number remained at around one million, performed legally.
So, as you can see, abortions, whether legal or illegal, will still take place, the only difference being that those which are done illegally are unregulated, therefore putting women at much greater risk, not just physically, but mentally, too.
Where Is Our Humanity?
It’s disgusting that, as women, we are having our rights, the freedom to do what we want to do with our bodies, taken away. I fundamentally believe that no one should have to justify their reason for abortion; simply wanting to no longer be pregnant is enough of a reason. Whether through being raped, or through our choice to not use contraception, to ‘sleep around’ (because, that is our choice too, we can do that if we want to), we should never be denied the right to an abortion. Ever.
As was put forward in the original case by Roe;
‘The right to an abortion is absolute — a person is entitled to end a pregnancy at any time, for any reason, in any way they choose.’
Close To Home
Just imagine if it happened to you. If you’re a woman, then this is probably a fairly easy thing to do, for we run that risk. Unlike men who, if they get a woman pregnant, can walk away, turning a blind eye to the situation, women can’t do that, because it is their body within which the pregnancy exists. They have a human growing inside of them. They have no where to ‘walk away’ to.
If you’re a man, then just use your imagination…
You find out that you’re pregnant, a baby is the last thing you want at this time, but, you can’t do anything about it. You have no choice but to have that baby. 9 months of living hell through pregnancy only to have the baby you didn’t want and be left with a choice- either keep the baby and spend the next 18 years essentially ‘bound down’ by your responsibilities to look after your child, or give the baby away, and spend the rest of your life being judged for doing so, your forever changed body a constant reminder of what you had to go through. Sounds awful, right? That’s the sad reality that so many women are going to be facing since the overturning of Roe V Wade.
The overturning of Roe V Wade is a grave violation of our human rights and, I worry about what this means for women’s rights and the rights of people living in the world today in general…
When we are going backwards, I can’t help but question, what’s going to come next?…
Will contraception be outlawed?
Same sex marriage?
In accepting the abolition of one human right, are we not welcoming the abolition of them all?