On June 24th, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, terminating the constitutional right to an abortion. This marks the end of a near 50-year period of freedom, where people with uteruses had control over their bodies. The judgment, initially leaked in May of 2022, had people on the edge of their seats ever since, marking this as a tragic day in the history of human rights.
In the U.S, thirteen states enacted trigger laws that would immediately ban abortions in the case of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Considering yesterday’s events, it’s only a matter of time.
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah have immediate trigger laws going into effect making abortion illegal. While Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming will likely be putting laws into effect within weeks. All states include exceptions for possible death or injury to the pregnant person. Idaho, Mississippi, Utah, and Wyoming will also make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
As of 2020, according to research done by the Guttmacher Institute, 29 states demonstrated hostility towards the subject, and could all potentially terminate abortion rights. The majority of women of reproductive age, 40 million (58%), live in states that have demonstrated hostility towards abortion rights, while 25.8 million (almost 38%) live in states that have pro-choice policies. This study does not take into account persons who do not identify as women.
TRUMP’S LINGERING EFFECT ON THE COUNTRY:
An article published in 2017 by The Untitled Magazine, written by Alexandra Pauly, makes it clear that the decision is not unprecedented.
“During his campaign for president, Trump stated that there must be some sort of “punishment” for women who seek abortions if the procedure is ever banned, something Trump has repeatedly insisted he will do by instating pro-life justices in court and overturning Roe v. Wade.”
In 2017, Trump also issued a “conscience protection” allowing employers to refuse employees with co-payment for free methods of contraception if it inflicted with their religious or moral reasons. The actions were justified due to possible “risky sexual behavior” among young women.
In addition, former Vice President Mike Pence previously stated that condoms are not effective in protecting people from sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Pence also expressed that unfertilized eggs are humans, and thus birth control is murder.
Since Donald Trump inducted his conservative Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, it’s only been a matter of time until the decisions were overturned.
WHO WILL THIS AFFECT?
Former Vice President Mike Pence stated on Twitter in regards to the judgment, “Today life won. By overturning Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court of the United States has given the American People a new beginning for life.”
The statement fails to recognize those whose lives will be lost due to the ruling; people who can’t afford to travel across state lines in order to obtain safe and legal abortions. Many will turn to illegal procedures that often end in death or have lifelong effects.
“About 42 million women with unintended pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly half of these procedures, 20 million, are unsafe. Some 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion annually, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality (13%).” States the study ‘Unsafe Abortion: Unnecessary Maternal Mortality.’
In addition, children will be forced into homes that are not prepared or financially stable enough to welcome a child, leading to more children entering the foster care system.
As of 2020, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 213,964 children under 18 entered foster care in the United States. National data showed that Black and American Indian children are overrepresented among those entering foster care.
“Black children represented 20% of those entering care but only 14% of the total child population, while American Indian kids made up 2% of those entering care and 1% of the child population.” – Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The disproportionate number of children of color in foster care is due to years of institutional racism and a lack of support for underprivileged minority communities.
Once these children “age out” at 18, 20,000 young people annually, they are left with little to no support or connections, which are often necessary for a successful adulthood. Those who are emancipated and don’t achieve permanence have a more significant likelihood of being homeless, jobless, experience incarceration and early parenthood.
This creates a never-ending cycle, harming those who are born into difficult situations and have no options or support to better their lives.
INFLUENTIAL WOMEN ON THE TOPIC:
Former First Lady Michele Obama took to Instagram to share her thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I am heartbroken- for the teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won’t be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state control her reproductive decisions … For the health care workers who can no longer help them without risking jail time.” Michele Obama added “Our hearts may be broken today but tomorrow we’ve got to get up and find the courage to keep working towards creating the more just America we all deserve. Theres so much left to push for, to rally for, to speak for- and i know we can do this together.”
Democratic New York Representative AOC also spoke on the decision. During her speech, she mentions that the majority serving in the Supreme Court was appointed by the Republican party, which has not won a popular vote since 2004.
“I think it’s important for us to tackle this myth that this is somehow about babies, or children, or life. Because the same individuals who purport, who claim, to be protecting life, fight against universal health care. Do they believe in universal childcare ? do they believe in life after birth? from their policy positions I assure you the evidence is lacking.”
In Clarence Thomas’ solo opinion he stated that Lawrence v. Texas, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Griswold v. Connecticut should also be reconsidered.
Lawrence v. Texas invalidated sodomy law across the United States, making same-sex sex legal. Obergefell v. Hodges removed bans on same-sex marriage and guaranteed all people with the right to marry, based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Lastly, Griswold v. Connecticut protected the choice of people to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
By reconsidering these major rulings not only would people with uteruses be affected, but all LGBTQIA+ people, and anyone who actively utilizes contraception.
The opportunity to get married would be completely stripped from millions of U.S citizens.
RESOURCES / ABORTION ORGANIZATIONS:
Logistical and financial help for those in need: International Network of Abortion Funds
Access to medication abortion: Plan C
The miscarriage or abortion hotline; 5am-11pm PT/8am-2am ET (833) 246-2632
The United State of Women Reproductive Justice Hub