Editorial: A giant step backward for womankind

Editorial: A giant step backward for womankind

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra. Unsplash photo

People often wish they could turn back time. The U.S. Supreme Court did just that on Friday, June 24.

America has been cast back to the mid-20th century as states can now make it illegal for women to get abortions. The justices overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that granted a pregnant woman federal license to have an abortion and struck down federal and state laws that forbade the medical procedure. The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision also overturned Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe’s central holding and cemented abortion access as judicial precedent. 

Around two dozen states are now poised to criminalize abortion, a collective slap in the face to all women from the court’s conservative majority. Women of childbearing age will now have fewer options than their mothers or grandmothers. The reversal can lead to dangerous abortions, especially when one has limited access to health care.

The U.S. already has the highest maternal mortality rates among developed nations, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The actual number is bound to climb as women’s reproductive health is no longer federally protected.

How will these states deal with the repercussions? How will they pay for children whose parents can’t afford to raise them or for the therapy some women will need after delivering a child conceived during rape? Who will adopt or foster the children who are given up, because a mother knows she can’t take care of her child.

Yes, there are more ways to try to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, birth control is not 100%, and in the case of rape, sometimes by someone who is known, people are not always given a choice regarding having sex.

What’s equally disturbing is that Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that other landmark decisions such as those regarding contraception, sodomy laws and same-sex marriage should be reconsidered.

Are the Supreme Court justices allowing religion to motivate them when making these decisions or suggesting reviews of other laws? There have been debates over when life begins, because we live in a melting pot where people come from various religious backgrounds and some don’t identify with any one religion. In the U.S., we have varying opinions on numerous subjects. There is a need to make a decision considering those varying opinions.

Most of all, women deserve body autonomy. Lawmakers can’t make Americans donate organs after death, so how can they tell women that no matter what their circumstances, one option is not available to them.

The reversal of Roe v. Wade sets a dangerous precedent. Allowing states to set their own laws regarding major issues can lead to chaos.

U.S. citizens don’t have to sit on the sidelines. Every election is a chance to voice our opinions. During the midterm elections, vote for the candidates who will protect and fight for our rights to make our own personal choices.