Abortion rights are human rights


Jazmin Chavira (created with Canva)

26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion without Roe v. Wade.

Access to safe abortion services is a human right.

Nearly one in the four women in the U.S. are expected to get an abortion at some point in their lives, according to a 2017 study.

Roe v. Wade was a 1971 – 1973 landmark decision by the U.S Supreme Court. It ruled that a state law that banned abortion was unconstitutional. The ruling made abortion legal in many circumstances.

Protecting the right to abortion does not imply allowing more people to have abortions. Abortions were common even before Roe v. Wade, albeit they were mostly illegal and dangerous. Roe v. Wade not only guaranteed the right to abortion, but also the right to a safe abortion.

If Roe v. Wade is struck down, as a leaked draft memo from the U.S. Supreme Court suggests it could be, it will have a major impact on states across the country that have already signaled their intention to restrict or ban abortion. 

The draft ruling on overturning Roe would not outright ban abortion nationwide, but rather empower states to restrict or outright prohibit it, which advocates of reproductive rights warn could have far-reaching ramifications for the country. Over half of states are anticipated to outlaw all or nearly all abortions, putting the most severe restriction on reproductive rights in 50 years.

While the draft has yet to be finalized, overturning Roe’s decisions will disproportionately affect people who face economic barriers. In 2014, three-quarters of abortion patients were low-income and almost half of them were living below the poverty level. 

Women in these states who need abortions and have money will travel to states where abortion is legal. However, poor women and teenagers will be forced to choose between an unsafe abortion and having an unwanted pregnancy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that legal restrictions on abortion do not result in fewer abortions. Rather, they force pregnant people to pursue riskier abortion services that can lead to serious injury and even death, reports the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Abortion has been one of the most contentious issues in American politics for nearly a half-century.

“This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, & lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law,” said former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Overturning Roe will have far-reaching consequences for the law. According to the Court’s draft opinion, Roe was “egregiously wrong” because it protects a right that was not included in the constitution, was not protected by the original framework of the Constitution, and was not traditionally ensured as a constitutional right.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a draft majority opinion. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

The Supreme Court wants to send the question of abortion back to states and let them decide. This is an egregiously wrong decision. Equality is guaranteed by our constitution. It’s not something that people should ask for or even fight for. It should not be at people’s discretion whether or not women should have these rights. 

This is about equality. 

Despite the fact that women and men engage in the exact same act to reproduce, women are the only ones who could ever be subject to a broad range of health risks and often detrimental economic consequences that a man could never experience. 

In spite of having engaged in the same exact behavior to create a pregnancy, men can not be subject to these health risks and economic consequences. The only real way to make women be equally in control of their lives as men is to give them the same ability that allows men to control their lives. Otherwise, we are forced to live in a country where being born a woman leaves you less in control of your own life. This is not equality. 

Telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body is dehumanizing. People lose power when, regardless of the circumstances, they make a decision that prevents a woman from receiving the full health care she deserves. It is wrong to deprive people of this authority.

In a statement on the reported Supreme Court decision draft, President Joe Biden said, “Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not to be overturned.” 

The Court’s decision to overturn Roe will not put an end to the heated political debate over abortion. On the contrary, it will amplify it by becoming the dominant issue in countless elections for Congress, state legislatures, city councils, and judgeships.

“It will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a women’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November,” said President Biden. 

Abortion is still legal in every state, but some have imposed restrictions on abortion care. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, individual states will be free to set their own legal limits on abortion access. In the summer, an official decision is expected.