Roe vs Wade is the name of a lawsuit that led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decison to establish abortion as legal in 1973. Yet it was never decided as a constitutional right and kept in the process of legislation, until 2022.
Roe vs Wade was overturned on the 24th of June 2022 by the US Supreme Court, making the right to have an abortion a federal right, and not a constitutional one. This means that different states can create their own laws on abortion. It has been fully banned in fourteen Republican states, such as Alaska and Alabama, as well as being threatened in several others. The dismantling of fifty years of legal protection will have detrimental effects on the continuous fight for women’s rights and the economy. The legalisation of abortion was one of the most pivotal rights given to women and by banning it, they are just banning safe abortion.
I wanted to research the catalyst effects Roe vs Wade has had after almost a year and this is what I found:
What have been the economic effects of this decision? Over the past seven months, we have seen an increase in people travelling between states in order to be granted an out-of-state abortion. We are currently experiencing an fuel crisis due to the war in Ukraine, and the use of oil as an energy source to facilitate these out-of-state abortions does not help the demand to save these resources. Not to mention the “substantial burdens of doctors and hospitals availability and costs have reached a peak”, as reported by Dr Bearak at the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive rights in the state of New York.
Equally, another crucial question is what the effects have been on child protection laws? On 1st July 2022, a ten-year-old girl was raped in Indianapolis and was denied an abortion by her state. The lifelong trauma this girl has to face was only worsened by her own state, run by the people who are supposed to protect her, denying her the rights to her own body. She may have been lucky to have the resources to attain an out-of-state abortion, but there are so many other little girls who are not as lucky; some have parents who can’t travel or don’t have the resources to leave their state. How can they say that they want to protect children under the child protection laws, and yet they are letting their own children have babies, when they themselves are still babies? But don’t worry, the state said, “her pregnancy was not a medical risk.” So of course, this child should have a baby without her own consent. The Times, BBC, The Guardian and The New Yorker all reported on this, yet no media coverage can compensate for all the victims who will go unreported.
My grandma grew up during WWII, when abortion was illegal in the UK. I can still remember the absolute horror she expressed after hearing that Roe vs Wade had been overturned, as she recalled taking many of her friends to back-room pharmacies, when they needed an illegal abortion. My father recalls how, when abortion was illegal in South Africa, someone close to his family became fatally sick after an illegal abortion, and barely survived it.
You do not just ban abortion — you ban safe abortion.
Everyone has a right to their opinion, of course, but you cannot just force it on other people’s bodies. As a young woman it is scary to see history repeat itself. We cannot let this stand for another year.
By Antonia Schewitz