Medina Dasayev, Jenna Sakhleh, Kate Fraser, Jayden D'Onofrio, Catherine Otero - Teen Aspect - May 9th, 2022
Abortion has been a hot topic since the beginning of the 19th century when abortion-inducing drugs were first introduced. The introduction was quickly followed by regulations and laws inspired by society’s ideas at the time, mainly Christian ones that viewed abortion as a sin. The first major law banning the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs through the U.S. mail system, the Comstock law, was passed by Congress, followed by an almost national restriction of abortion. A century later, Norma McCorvey, known as “Jane Roe” in court documents, attempted to get an illegal abortion under Texas law, ultimately leading to McCorvey and her attorneys suing Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney. This case went to the Supreme Court, known as Roe v. Wade, and legalized abortion nationwide. Since then, this ruling has faced many different challenges, more currently facing the threat of complete overruling. The topic’s rocky history has shown us that illegalizing abortion doesn’t get rid of it, but rather puts women under more harm and that these restrictions often face serious backlash. With the lingering question of whether or not the Supreme Court will overrule the momentous ruling of Roe v. Wade, it is important that we consider the history of the topic to ensure the best for the citizens of America moving forward.
- Medina Dasayev
It is essential that civilians must look at every perspective.
From a medical standpoint, there are numerous factors to the possibility of having an abortion. It is vital to remember: this is a woman's body, her choice. Whether she decides to keep a baby is up to her. Researchers show that 3 out of 4 women do not report sexual assault. The statistics for abortion due to rape and incest may not be 100% accurate, but they happen. As law officials proceed with the overturning process, women have to continue. Unfortunately, there will be cases where a woman is physically incapable of having a child or a woman is raped and does not want a child to remind her of these horrors. The factors must play a role in the decision to question overturning Roe v Wade. For example, in a mother undergoing chemotherapy, there is a risk of congenital disabilities or pregnancy loss. At that moment, it should be a women’s right to decide what to do with a child, not the government.
- Jenna Sakhleh
From an environmental standpoint, at a time when climate policy has never been so important, states have decided to shift their focus on legislation that has existed for decades. This sentiment to overturn Roe v. Wade held by the largely conservative court via the recent Opinion of the Court attacks our basic civil liberties in two different ways. In the first regard, of course, abortion and potentially basic contraceptive care are pulled out of the hands of those who may require it for a variety of reasons, whether it's religion, social class, age, etc. The Obergefell v. Hodges case may also very well be overturned, cracking down on those who love freely beyond the homosexual normality that has been enforced in government for centuries. Beyond this, in the second regard, our basic human rights to a safe environment are challenged. Rather than drafting climate policies that have never been more important in our current environmental state, American politicians have decided to attack legislation that has provided the standards of living for millions. I cannot help but ask, “Why bother?” Republicans claim to want to safeguard personal liberty but have attacked this natural right in direct and indirect ways. On the other side, President Joe Biden has failed to capitalize on Democratic power in Office by preventing these attacks on civil liberties while also turning a blind eye to his proposed climate policies that were included in his campaign. It has never been so apparent that the government is not working in the people’s favor. It will be close to impossible to encourage civic engagement and voting if the public’s cries for climate action and reproductive rights are not answered.
- Kate Fraser
Economic inequality has become so prevalent within the foundation of the United States and the abolition of reproductive rights would only accentuate the nation’s economic imbalances. Destroying the historical precedent set forth by Roe v. Wade would cause women to be more likely to endure poverty upon the denial of an abortion, possibly resulting in unwarranted economic hardships that may last for years (American Journal of Public Health, 2018). As of 2020, women earned just 82 cents for every dollar a male received, a direct piece of evidence showcasing the roots of inequality in the national economic structure (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020). The elimination of abortion rights in states across the country would further perpetuate the basis of inequities plaguing many working-class women. Such economic consequences would not only affect the woman herself, but also provide dreadful losses for the grand United States economy. For example, based off current restrictions on state-level abortion rights, state economies are losing out on over $105 billion per year as a result of a reduction in labor force participation and overall earning levels (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2021). The implementation of blanketed abortion bans in up to 26 states would make the aforementioned losses of $105 billion seem like pennies once such laws take hold of millions of women. Massive losses in overall women income across the United States would likely cause increased reliance on the nation’s welfare system, specifically Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While conservatives wrangle over the ‘excessive’ spending of the national government, a move to overturn Roe v. Wade’s ruling would directly cause the loss of billions in government revenue while simultaneously increasing its expenses exponentially thanks to the need for more welfare assistance. Not only does overturning Roe v. Wade strip women of their rights, an injustice all on its own, it also provides a major drag for the United States economic well-being during some of the faultiest years the national economy has seen in decades. If conservatives were truly ‘pro-life’, they would be advocating for the passage of a tremendous increase in welfare programs to ensure the well-being of the newly born babies and their family. Instead, anti-abortion activists are no more than people who represent pro-birth sentiments with zero care for the well-being of the newborn and their families.
- Jayden D'Onofrio
Now, what does this mean for society going forward?
It has become increasingly clear that the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade is just one of the many court overrules to come. Justice Samuel Alito, in his draft decision, argues that Roe is a faulty law. Roe is based on the 14th amendment, as are decisions like Obergefell v Hodges on same-sex marriage, Loving v. Virginia on interracial marriage, and Lawrence v. Texas on consensual sex (The Guardian). With overturning a law based on an amendment that is supposed to guarantee citizens equal protection under the law, it becomes difficult to understand why a judge would deprive citizens of protection? Are women still not seen as citizens to some in court? It seems that the justices representing us in the highest court of the nation are more traditional than we thought. The overturning of Roe v Wade is just the beginning. If SCOTUS is planning on attacking a citizen’s basic rights, then what is stopping them from stripping members of the LGBTQ+ community of marriage rights or from limiting access to contraceptives? These questions are not hypothetical, they are possibilities. In Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, he mentioned other landmark cases that could potentially be overturned in the future, Including Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage (Rosenblatt) and one Arizona Republican candidate for U.S. Senate thinks judges should also take aim at the right to buy and use contraception (Rosenblatt). In a time where the nation is supposed to be moving forward, we seem to be going back in time. SCOTUS continues to take jabs at minorities, when there are much more important issues to be discussed. Many have been discussing solutions to this issue such as “voting.” Yet, we have voted for candidates that we “thought” would incite proper change and look at what is occurring. Democrats have had decades to codify Roe v Wade and have waited until the last second to do anything about it with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, moving on Thursday to set up a vote next week on a bill to codify abortion rights into federal law (The New York Times). Action seems to be taken only when an issue becomes widely discussed. Roe v Wade should not be an excuse for an electoral campaign, it is a real issue that will be affecting half of our population: women. Many more minorities will be targeted and it is up to the people to do whatever can be done to ensure basic rights do not continue to be stripped away, as helpless as we may seem right now.
- Catherine Otero
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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, April 20). Earnings of Women. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/cps/earnings.htm
IWPR research shows negative impact of abortion bans on state economies. IWPR. (2021, December 1). Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://iwpr.org/media/press-releases/iwpr research-shows-negative-economic-impact-of-abortions-bans-on-state-economies/
Schreiber, M. (2022, May 4). Contraception could come under fire next if Roe v Wade is overturned. The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/03/roe-v-wade-birth-control
Dillon Rosenblatt, A. M. M. 6. (2022, May 6). GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to allow states to ban contraception use. Arizona Mirror. Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://www.azmirror.com/blog/gop-senate-candidate-blake-masters-wants-to-allow-states-to-ban-contraception-use/
Karni, A. (2022, May 5). Democrats plan a bid to codify roe, but lack the votes to succeed. The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/05/us/politics/democrats-codify-roe.html