Global issue: Roe vs. Wade and the debate around abortion
By Maleeha, Year 12
Pro-life versus pro-choice. This debate has been in circulation for an extremely long time and has only gotten more controversial as we stepped into the 21st Century and women all around the world began to speak out for themselves. The influence of the USA has been known to have an impact all over the world, as they led the world into a pro-choice era with the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions without excessive government restrictions.
Recently, the government’s impending decision to overturn the Roe vs Wade case has re-lit the flame in all women’s hearts regarding the debate around pro-life versus pro-choice. The case made in 1973 outlined that the Texas Law regarding the strict no-tolerance policy for women’s abortion invaded the right to liberty of the 14th Amendment issued in 1868. Although it resulted in pro-choice for women having an abortion, several other cases followed that challenged the outcomes of Roe vs. Wade - Planned parenthood of SouthernEastern Pennsylvania vs Cassey in 1992, Gonsalvez vs. Carhart in 2007, Whole Woman's Health vs. Hellerstedt in 2016 and Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo in 2020- all of them that raised issue after issue regarding abortion laws and allowing women the right to chose what they want to do with their own body. (Britannica.com, 2022)
How the case for/against abortion is looked at depends entirely upon the beliefs of the person. Conservative and traditional views will clash with modern feminist views and will result in a deep divide between people and idealogies. Nevertheless, contrary to what the US court believes, this divide is perhaps necessary to root out the deeper issue regarding the female right to their own bodies and is necessary to expose the realities of the world and how in the 21st Century, women are still fighting for rights they thought they gained almost 50 years ago.
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions”, Justice Alito wrote in an initial draft majority opinion. The nation’s “history and traditions” in question may as well involve harrowing women and forcing them to be caged in situations that they do not wish to be in, essentially robbing them of the rights stated in the 14th amendment. According to the jury, the decisions made in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade were “egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
The result of overturning Roe vs. Wade could be life-changing and have true “damaging consequences” for women. States could regain powers to regulate abortions and if the past and present are any indication for the future, most states will almost most certainly pass strict laws against abortion. Women and their liberty with their bodies could be set-back more than 50 years.
It is not new knowledge that the world is heavily influenced by the West. The American Dream. USA and all of its glory wrapped up in a shiny package that attracts the world towards its way of life. If the world’s leading influencer changes its policies regarding liberty and equality… The domino effect on the rest of the world could be excruciating.
As far as history goes, our modern society is supposed to be forward-thinking and revolutionary. Isn’t the essence of human behaviour meant to revolve around the ever-changing and developing world? Aren’t we supposed to be creating a unified and egalitarian society wherein harmony can only be achieved through liberty?
Then how are we allowing one of the world’s leading government to set-us back half a century?
Abortion and the future for Medicine
The medical future of abortion is as arbitrary as the future for women. This is mainly because the treatment for miscarriage is the same as the treatment for abortion. Hence, medically there have been a few cases, namely in Texas, where women have resorted to be taking miscarraige procedures in order to get an abortion illegally.
This of course creates a dilemma for doctors and practitioners as well as patients. It presents us with a conundrum. A grey area; undefined. Restrictive abortion laws often have exemptions for medical emergencies, nevertheless in a field such as medicine, where there is always something new to learn what is to say that by following these exemptive laws the life of the women in question will not be in danger?
Pregnancy related deaths are not common and exemptive laws will most certainly adhere to them. However, under the new restrictions if a condition like preeclampsia is developed early in pregnancy, which increases the risk of heart related deaths and strokes, the exemptive laws might not apply and the pregnancy would have to be carried on with the additional risks. Can the rulings of the court not result in potential danger to a pregnant woman?
It is a living, breathing tragedy that women in this day and age will most certainly suffer because of such laws. Killing innocent lives is wrong: yes. That is an undeniable truth. But abortion has a medical time period defined by professionals for a reason- to prevent any sort of moral dilemmas.
Ask yourself this: Is robbing a person’s right to control their own self, their own inner-capabilities and their future, right? Is it right to kill the freedom of a person to live as they want? Is it right to control their body for them?
Britannica.com, ‘Roe vs. Wade’, Normans McCovey, https://www.britannica.com/event/Roe-v-Wade
NPR, ‘If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what happens next? Your questions answered’, June, 2022, Selena-Simmons-Duffin, https://www.npr.org/2022/06/02/1102430578/overturning-roe-v-wade-what-happens-next
Findlaw, 2022, ‘Roe v. Wade Case Summary: What You Need to Know’ https://supreme.findlaw.com/supreme-court-insights/roe-v--wade-case-summary--what-you-need-to-know.html
Politico, 2022, ‘Supreme court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows’, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473