The end of women’s freedom over their bodies in the US
Barack Obama calls it an “attack on the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
June 24th, 2022.
Following weeks of protests and an information leak, as well as new regulations regarding trans and abortion rights, the Supreme Court has issued its ruling overturning Roe V. Wade. This means that they have eliminated the constitutional right to have abortions after 50 years something experts predict will lead to total bans on the procedure in about half of the states of the federal republic as many have already established laws restricting choice.
The ruling consisted of 6 republicans voting in favour and 3 liberals dissenting and shows the effect of decades-long efforts from Republicans (this being installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent). Although many newspapers are insisting that this decision arose from the involvement of one person, ex-President of the United States, Donald Trump (eg. The Guardian), one can’t deny the work of the whole of the Republican Party on restricting the rights of minorities. And they have now succeeded in reversing a long-settled law that will have a significant impact on reproductive rights in the nation.
Not even an hour of the reveal, mixed reactions have been seen by members of the House of Representatives, whilst the decision clashes with the view of the majority of Americans. Additionally, the Attorney General of Missouri, Eric Schmitt has made a statement that activates the state’s trigger law, signifying Missouri will be the first state to ban abortion completely except in cases of medical emergencies. Experts (New York Times) have expressed that State Abortion Laws will fall into 5 categories: Prohibited, Restricted, Uncertain, Legal and Legal and Expanded. The Justice Department has now issued a statement condemning the decision as it’ll particularly affect the minorities and less advantaged sectors of the population.
President Biden addressed the country today at 12.30 pm EST, and those filled with uncertainty regarding their future await what the head of the country has to say. He has said that he believes that Roe v. Wade ““was a direct decision” that drew a balance between a woman’s right to choose and the state’s ability to regulate abortions. That it was a compromise deemed “acceptable” by most Americans of different faiths and backgrounds. He has also reiterated that Roe v. Wade has survived administrations of both parties, until Donald Trump. “The court has done what it has never done before. It has expressly taken away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans,” he says, also drawing attention to the fact that the decision is “”so extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist’s child” or of incest “Imagine a woman having to carry a child that was the consequence of incest,”, highlighting the cruelty of the decision. Additionally, he has expressed his commitment to equality in America by iterating “My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers. But Congress must act.” He goes on to say “with your vote, you can act.”. Additionally, he has stated that women in states where abortion is being banned will retain their right to travel to parts of the country where it remains legal, assuring that no official will be able to interfere with their right to travel. He claims that his administration will “protect access to medication…like contraception”. However, he warns that he believes “maternal mortality will climb in America” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. To close his remarks, he has advocated for peaceful protests as “Violence is never acceptable”, and that “threats and intimidation aren’t speech”. Finishing off, he addresses American women, saying he knows they’ll face “incredibly difficult situations. I hear you. I support you. I stand with you” and has finished his address by stating that the US people can still have “the final word” and that “this is not over”, whilst not taking any questions from journalists.
Those who are in states where abortion has been banned or will be are filled with hopelessness and have reported that worry plagues their minds. Most common amongst worriers fall residents of the state of West Virginia, which has a statute on the books regarding the criminalization of abortion (3 to 10 years in prison for anyone who performs one). Similar laws plague the country and people are waiting to see what their fate will be. Amongst the most worried also fall those who utilise contraception (birth control particularly), as many have begun to worry whether it’ll remain legal. Thankfully, the overruling of Roe V. Wade doesn’t indicate the Supreme Court will revisit its decision on this medication, but users must remain alert as Justice Thomas has stated that following today’s decision “we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell”. For those unaware, these cases pertain to decisions preventing states from banning contraception, intercourse by members of the LGBTQ+ community and same-sex marriage. Predictions following the decision also include concern regarding whether people will be turned away from emergency care, as women in states with bans on abortions could find themselves denied access to doctors and emergency rooms. Additionally, a push for laws that directly criminalise pregnant people and those who experience pregnancy loss could also be coming as anti-abortion activists around the country celebrate the ruling and insist on further regulation.
Abortion will remain legal in at least 16 states (32%, not a great number), and the South and Midwest are expected to completely eliminate abortion access. With this, 13 states (26%), including Texas, Wyoming and Oklahoma, have now put into motion their “trigger laws”, which were designed to take effect when Roe v. Wade fell. Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has issued a statement saying her state will become a “safe harbour” for those seeking abortions, reaffirming her commitment to abortion and women rights. By doing so, she has brought life to the fact that there will never be a true end to abortion, but rather one to safe abortion. SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) is bound to release more statements regarding their decision this coming Monday 27th of June
As a citizen of the US and Peru who identifies as a conservative, abortion is an issue that I clash with the Republican Party, as I believe that, as a modern woman who advocates or believes in feminism, you can’t be against abortions. Mainly because it restricts women’s rights and sets all of us back half a century. The line “Pro-life is Pro-women” doesn’t represent my position as to be able to go forward and make a difference in issues such as the wage gap, the overturning, and this phrase signifies the cementing of gender roles because they’re limiting access to safe abortions. I would even go as far as saying that by not letting us have control over what we do with our bodies, the Supreme Court has decided we can no longer be trusted to determine the course of our own lives and that we are not equal citizens, which will not, and should not stand. Not only that but speculation on the prohibition of rights of the LGBTQ+ community and access to contraception will likely add to the shortages the US is currently experiencing as people are beginning to stock up on birth control and generic plan b pills, possibly adding to the detrimental economic situation the country is going through at the moment. Politically, the ruling is bound to test the legitimacy of the court and will likely bring into question whether a decision like this can be made when the majority of the nation isn’t represented by this viewpoint. This will change the nation’s politics, and the transition to a ban on the procedure won’t take long, evidenced by the speediness of the reactions from state officials. Additionally, given that this started with their ruling on whether to uphold Mississippi law, I believe that ruling on abortion as a whole will cause questioning of whether the court should have a say on such broad matters when parties aren’t equally represented as the appointment of justices isn’t tied to the beliefs of the population. Not to mention that, given that SCOTUS stated yesterday (June 23rd) that states don’t have the ability to regulate guns, but today have the power to regulate women’s bodies is fuelling the fire, and the irony can not be ignored. Moreover, as a conservative (who has the belief that to further development, one must build on the foundations of a nation), the decision to throw out precedent overnight clashes with statements of the Republican Party regarding their allegiance to conservatism, and I’m glad that Republican senators, such as Ms Susan Collins, have brought attention to that fact, as this kind of decision is bound to lead to political chaos, anger and further loss of confidence in the US government.
If you’re in the US and need an abortion or know someone who needs one, contact 1-800-230-Plan or visit AbortionFinder.org