New decision on Roe v Wade will regress our country fifty years

A leaked draft of a court decision suggesting that the US Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v Wade was confirmed to be authentic earlier this week. If this decision is finalized, it could now be possible that a female born this year may have fewer rights over her own body than a female born nearly fifty years ago.

To understand the regression this decision would bring to fruition in our country, it is first essential to understand exactly what Roe v. Wade established.

In 1973, a 7-2 Supreme Court vote established that women had the constitutional right to an abortion. This decision overruled the banning of abortions in specific states, granting the medical procedure to all American women.

This case also ruled certain limitations could be enforced depending on the trimester the woman was in at the time she was having the abortion as well as certain conditions she or the fetus may possess.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would also have similar consequences to Planned Parenthood v Casey, which accepts the constitutionality of a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, but allows states to implement their limitations to abortion laws.

Overturning a Supreme Court decision that has been in effect will undoubtedly come with consequences that will impact many Americans each year.

Immediately after the decision was made, abortion would become illegal in 13 states. 17 states would keep it legal despite the Supreme Court decision. Essentially it makes it so it would become a state-by-state decision. As of now, Iowa is one of the other 20 states that currently have no laws that would neither ban nor protect abortion immediately after the decision to terminate Roe v. Wade is made final.

Making it so abortion laws differ immensely between states isn’t just an inconvenience for women wanting, or in some cases needing an abortion. It’s yet another way to keep poor people poor.

Women who may not be financially stable do not have the option to take off work as well as pay for travel expenses to have an abortion. Even in cases where a woman does not have the option to terminate her pregnancy, the outrageous prices of healthcare in the US are certainly enough to burden an already struggling individual. Just the cost of having a baby at a hospital in the US amounts to $16,884. Allowing states to ban abortion in the US is not only an outdated concept that hasn’t existed since the 1970s, but it would also contribute to the already alarming barrier between the rich and poor.

Despite one’s opinion on the ethics of having an abortion, there is no denying that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans. A 2021 Pew Research survey found that 59% of American adults believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. 

Of the nine Supreme Court Justices, two are products of the George W. Bush administration, and three were appointed under the Trump administration. Both of these presidents lost the popular vote in their respective elections, yet these individuals they have appointed have and will make decisions impacting American lives for decades. The decision that these justices made against Roe v. Wade contradicts that of the 59% of American adults in the Pew survey. In a system that claims itself to be a Democracy, citizens fail to be represented.

I struggle with the morality of abortions. It has never been, and likely will never be an issue that I can have a “black or white” view on; it is far too complicated with far too much variety to enforce a solution that is effective in every situation. 

To determine the appropriate solution to an unwanted pregnancy, we must face the difficult questions regarding the value of the life of a fetus versus the potentially heinous impacts it could have on the mother’s life. Is it morally right to deny a woman access to health care that could potentially be life-saving for her?

Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the worldwide leading cause of death in females ages 15-19. Is it ethical to force a woman, especially in instances of rape, incest, and situations in which the life of the woman or the woman’s health is in danger to go through a pregnancy?

The extreme mental and physical aspects of carrying a pregnancy to full term should not be overlooked when considering the ethics of banning abortion. Putting a complete ban on abortions undermines the potentially deleterious impacts that pregnancy may inflict upon an individual, especially in cases involving unspeakable trauma.

One of the most essential solutions our country must consider to limit the number of unwanted pregnancies is ensuring that citizens are properly informed.

In my 12 years attending public schools, not once have I been taught about what sex is, how to practice safe sex, as well as the importance of consent.

 This is simply unacceptable. 

While I have been lucky enough to have parents that value the importance of informing their children despite conducting the potentially awkward, but necessary, conversations, not all citizens are as lucky as I am. Therefore, it is the responsibility of public schools to ensure that students are being educated, specifically about sexual education, to prevent the number of abortions that are performed.

While abortion is undoubtedly a complicated issue, I want to believe that the majority of Americans agree that it is unsafe to completely ban abortions. Deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade sets our country back nearly 50 years. Not only is this concept scary for current issues, but I also worry about the future of our country and its people. If the Supreme Court is willing to allow the opportunity to ban abortions across the US, it is not unreasonable to say issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and interracial marriage could also be at stake.

The future of our country, as well as our values and the way we are viewed by the world, is determined by the citizens. I urge you to register to vote and to stay properly informed on current issues. The rights of US citizens are dependent on citizens participating in our democracy.