The year 1973 was historic for women’s rights, the year that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on Roe v. Wade, granting women in the US reproductive autonomy and the liberation to decide whether motherhood was safe and proper for the life they led. Several weeks ago, a leaked draft of a Court opinion obtained by Politico shows that SCOTUS now appears to be ready to take away those rights by overturning the 50-year-old landmark decision.
For a country that preaches freedom and independence, it is awfully backwards to attack women’s rights and revoke them 50 years after their fruition.
For women, overturning Roe means more than just a court decision — it is being told that we do not matter as human beings. For women living in poverty, this decision is a direct attack on their lives. If SCOTUS decides to overturn this provision, states would have the power over abortion rights, implementing self-regulated policy.
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken late last month, 54% of Americans agree with upholding Roe v. Wade, believing it is necessary and proper for women’s rights.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would effectively disregard womens’ sovereignty over their reproductive rights, rights that have been in place now for half a century. Conservatives seek to deliberately erase from history the strides in society for women that have taken place in the last 50 years, most importantly, the agency over their bodies and ability to decide motherhood is right for them.
Many red-leaning states could immediately ban abortion, including Georgia, where the conservative-led 2019 legislature passed and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp then signed the “Heartbeat Bill,” a law which creates limitations on the period a woman can request an abortion to a mere six weeks of pregnancy.
Therefore, women would have to travel to another state, more likely a blue region (Democratic area) in order to get an abortion – travel that could be impossible for impoverished women.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would also be an attack on a disproportionate number of non-white residents. According to the most recent U.S. Census, the poverty rate for Blacks was 18.8% and for Hispanics it was 15.7, much higher than for non-Hispanic white people.
Historically, women’s rights have been under attack by religious conservatives who seek to characterize support for women’s reproductive rights as radically leftist and want to insert their religious beliefs into a constitutional conversation. I say: Keep your religion out of women’s bodies. Stop using prayer as an excuse for polarizing society from empowered women.
Conservative ideology has pushed anti-abortion sentiments in the U.S. for decades but fails to focus on the lives of the children who will be born due to forced labor. Instead, conservatives focus only on the actual birth of a child. Their pro-life advocacy is, in reality, essentially pro-birth ideology. Children who are alive presently are consistently ignored by conservatives. If these people are so pro-life, why don’t they seem to care about children in schools and living in unsafe neighborhoods who suffer from gun violence daily? What about the children who have lost family, lost friends, lost hope in living due to gun violence – bullets that take away loved ones permanently? If Second Amendment-supporting conservatives believe stricter gun regulations will not end gun violence, why do they believe abortion restrictions will end abortions?
Remember, indifference toward school children frequently turns kids into living bullseye targets at school. It does not make sense to care so greatly for an unborn life when there are alive Americans dying each day at the arms of Republican laws.
Ultimately, here’s what I have to say to male lawmakers who are intent on restricting women’s reproductive rights:
Stop interfering with the life of a human composed so differently than you are. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will now be forced back into a life from half a century ago. I am horrified that you want to force labor onto your daughters and the women who suffer from your decisions to control their bodies and shame them for not wanting to birth a child. A child who will grow to know nothing but the feeling of shame knowing you forced them onto their mother. You claim to be saving lives, but if women end up dying because of unprofessional procedures, the true bloodshed of abortions will be seen.
Thanks to new laws in many states now, you, lawmakers, are also turning a blind eye to women who are raped and will then have to live with the trauma of birthing or raising a child conceived without consent. You will be allowing children to grow up in poverty, to be born into a lifetime of shame, some maybe never knowing anything but the walls of an orphanage or a foster home. These are the kids you will claim you saved.
With a final ruling on overturning Roe v. Wade expected by the Supreme Court in June, it is no longer a time for women to be silenced. We will prevail past ignorance. No child should be born into a world of struggle, and no woman should have to struggle with the birth of a child.
I am a young woman, and I refuse to be oppressed by male-ordered regulations. A woman’s right to choose is fundamental to life. It is a human right.