Written by: Li
Edited by: Noor
Visual by: Tatiana
For over 50 years, people have been trying to take away the right to an abortion. Why? Why do they feel that they have that power, that control, over someone else’s body? Well, unfortunately, it’s because they do. Roe V. Wade was a lawsuit filed in 1973 that eventually led the Supreme Court to a ruling on abortion rights. The anti-abortion movement, more commonly known as Pro-Life, has been attempting to get rid of Roe V. Wade since the year it came to pass, 1973, and their wish may just come true. A Supreme Court draft opinion that leaked a few weeks ago stated that the High Court is inclined to overturn Roe V. Wade, preventing women, or anyone who can get pregnant, from getting an abortion.
Roe V. Wade materialized after Norma McCorvey, who went by the pseudonym of Jane Roe, filed a suit to challenge abortion laws in Texas, where the procedure was illegal at the time, and where even now, the restrictions on the right to abortion are heavily defended. Jane Roe against Henry Wade, the local district attorney, and adversary to the case, claimed that Texas law denied an individual’s right to liberty, referencing the 14th Amendment, and infringed on the rights to marital, familial, and sexual privacy, referencing the Bill of Rights: they argued that abortion is absolute. In other words, according to VOA news, they sought to establish that “a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy at any time, for any reason, without any limitations imposed by the state.” The Supreme Court didn’t completely agree with abortion being absolute, but ultimately decided that the United States Constitution does protect everyone’s fundamental “right to privacy” and therefore their right to an abortion. The court was able to create a “tiered set of freedoms and limitations regarding abortion based on the stages of the woman’s pregnancy” according to VOA news. They were as follows:
- During a pregnant person’s first trimester, a state cannot control the abortion process other than requiring that a licensed doctor in safe conditions perform the procedure.
- During the second trimester, a state can control the abortion process as long as its regulations are based on or related to concern for the health of the pregnant person.
- During the third trimester of pregnancy, the state can ban the pregnant person from receiving an abortion unless one is necessary to save their life or health.
The Pro-Life Movement started to gain traction directly after the court’s ruling as people started to openly oppose the procedure, linking it to murder. They justified this belief with another: that a child is a child from the moment of conception, so aborting is essentially murdering them. Those who follow the pro-abortion movement more commonly referred to as the Pro-Choice Movement have asked: should an embryo that cannot survive outside of a womb really be considered a child? In their eyes, no, it should not be. This movement focuses on the parent rather than the fetus. It argues that the parent is an adult with their own thoughts and feelings and therefore their autonomy should mean more than the group of cells growing within them.
The ability to decide should be encouraged for many different reasons, including external factors that may influence someone towards having an abortion. This may include rape, incest, or the inability to care for a child; whether that be financially or another unique circumstance. Even if none of these were the case, no one should be forced to follow through on a pregnancy they do not want to continue with.
Roe V. Wade is not just a question or a debate on the right to have an abortion but incites discussion surrounding body autonomy and women’s rights. If Roe V. Wade is overturned, women will be disproportionately affected; especially those who are young, impoverished, or are women of color. In addition to this, Roe V. Wade violates one’s right to decide what they want to do with their body, and will further complicate cases of unwanted pregnancies. Overall, Roe V. Wade should not be overturned, as it will negatively impact the lives of many parents who will be forced to carry on with pregnancies they do not want or are unable to support.
Breuninger, Kevin. “How the Supreme Court Went from Cementing Abortion Rights in Roe v. Wade to Drafting Their Demise.” CNBC, 6 May 2022, http://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/06/how-supreme-court-went-from-roe-v-wade-to-drafting-opinion-to-overturn-it.html.
Honderich, Holly. “Why US Abortion Laws Could Be Changed by Supreme Court Ruling.” BBC News, 30 Nov. 2021, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-59340789.
Temme, Laura. “Roe v. Wade Case Summary: What You Need to Know.” Findlaw, 21 Sept. 2021, supreme.findlaw.com/supreme-court-insights/roe-v–wade-case-summary–what-you-need-to-know.html.Why Do Some People Oppose Abortion? | EFC. 6 July 2018, http://www.efc.org.uk/why-do-some-people-oppose-abortion/.