Kate Fraser - Teen Aspect - June 27th, 2022
A few months ago, I helped organize a voter registration drive at my high school.
The common question of the event was, “Well, what’s the point?”
“To have your voice heard,” I answered to everyone.
After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I’m not sure if my answer to my peers stands true.
Whenever the United States is faced with an event that turns so many people’s worlds upside-down (which has become rather frequent), it seems that many people encourage others to “get out and vote!”
“Go to the polls!”
“Make your voice heard!”
While voting is ultimately the only thing the average citizen can do besides mobilization, it truly is a slap in the face to hear it in a time where disadvantaged communities in America continue to be spoken over by those in higher power.
“Get out and vote!”
We got a president in power who ran off a campaign that seemed to be the polar opposite of
President Trump’s disastrous term.
We balanced the Senate.
2018 had one of the best midterm elections in terms of young voter turnout. (i)
We did go out and vote. Yet, we have been answered by some of the most regressive, unpopular political decisions a single generation alone can go through.
The most commonly frustrating occurrence in recent times has been bill after bill (that has voiced the desires of the majority of Americans) being shot down in the balanced Senate due to party disloyalty, division, and filibusters.
And we are now faced with a new law of the land decided by 6 individuals. 6 out of the 330 million people in the country. 6 individuals who will not live in this new post-Roe world very long. 6 individuals who will never have to face the ramifications of their decisions at the grassroot level.
The majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito summarizes the flawed institution that is the US Supreme Court. Per the opinion, “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”
Here are some other valuable rights that Americans have today that are also not protected by the 235-year-old document. (ii)
The right to vote.
The right to a fair trial.
The right to travel.
Judicial review, the very practice that got Roe v. Wade overturned.
The right to marriage.
Separation of powers.
The electoral college.
The size of the Supreme Court.
There are clearly so many things considered to be the law of the land that are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. So why can’t the right to abortion be protected too?
With the majority of the court following the ideology of strict constructionism, we can also expect an attack on things considered to be a right to privacy, including contraception, same-sex marriage, and even same-sex relationships.
Where do we draw the line? Through the lens of this flawed, regressive ideology ringing through the Supreme Court, why are the other rights listed above not also challenged?
With women and potentially LGBTQ+ communities expected to face more regression after years of fighting, America cannot call itself a land of opportunity, “with freedom and justice for all.”
We need to move beyond strict constructionism, a practice that has oppressed, discriminated, and destroyed. We need to move beyond a document written hundreds of years ago by white men.
We need to modernize, matching the wishes of the citizens that uphold this country every day. As a teenage girl, I am scared. My mother is scared. My grandmother is scared. This decision is a slap in the face to those who have risked everything for the right to choose. To low-income women. To future generations. To BIPOC communities. To LGBTQ+ communities.
We will not go back.
i Misra, J. (2021, December 16). Voter turnout rates among all voting age and major racial and ethnic groups were higher than in 2014. Census.gov. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/04/behind-2018-united-states-midtermelection-turnout.html
ii Cline, A. (2018, August 6). Basic rights that are not listed in the Constitution.
LearnReligions.com. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://www.learnreligions.com/basicrights-not-spelled-out-in-the-constitution-249643