The importance of upholding Roe v. Wade

Janessa Mosqueda, News Editor, Multimedia Editor

On Monday, May 3, I opened Instagram and as I was scrolling through, I noticed various posts regarding a leaked opinion draft from the Supreme Court, published by Politico. This draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, suggested that Roe v. Wade would be overturned in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. This would mean that the legality of abortion would be the decision of each individual state. 

I decided to give it a couple days to wait and see if anything more official would be announced. The next morning, on May 4, it was confirmed by Chief Justice Roberts that the circulating draft was indeed authentic. While this draft is not a final decision, and Roe v. Wade is currently the precedent, just the fact that this is a confirmed document is outrageous.

Simply put, in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled (7-2) that it is a right for a woman to have access to and choose to have an abortion. We have had this precedent set for 49 years; there is no need to regress as a country and strip away the right to choose from any woman. This goes back to the slogan “My body, my choice.” A woman’s choice to have an abortion does not necessarily impact those around her or even have an impact on others at all. She should have the right to choose, because giving birth and having to raise a child will especially alter her life. 

In Roe v. Wade, it was also decided that the constitutional right to privacy (which was not explicitly stated, but the Supreme Court has said that various amendments create this right) was a broad enough concept to cover the choice of a woman choosing to have an abortion. In the opinion draft, Justice Alito disagreed with this statement. Personally, it seems like a woman’s choice to have an abortion is a private matter due to the fact that this ties in with personal and/or family planning, which is indeed a private matter. No one makes group decisions involving various legislators and essentially the whole country because obviously, that would strip away the “privacy” aspect of a personal decision. 

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment states “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In taking away the right to an abortion, this is a direct deprivation of liberty. The 14th Amendment gives citizens federal protection of their rights from the state. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, this strips women of their protection from the federal government against individual states that oppose the 14th Amendment. 

Of course, one could argue that the woman should have been more responsible. 1. You can’t control what decisions other people make and if other people’s decisions don’t personally affect you in any way, there is no need for you to intervene in the matter. 2. A woman cannot make a baby by herself. If someone wants to blame a woman for getting pregnant and then getting an abortion, put as much blame on the male. Do not shame a woman for seeking out an abortion, because for her to get to that point, there was a whole other person involed. A lack of adequate sex education can lead to a situation like this as well. Access to sex eduation is an imprtant resource because it gives people the knowledge that aids them in making safer decisions later on. Sex ed. does result in fewer unplanned pregnancies due to the fact that people know what can result from their choices.

From a young age, I can recall the topic of abortion being discussed but not really having a clear understanding of what that word meant. Up until about eighth grade, my concept of abortion was “killing babies.” From what I experienced and understand now, this viewpoint stems from misinformation as well as confirmation bias (when one searches for, interprets, or recalls information that supports the beliefs). It took a lot of my own personal research, as well as learning from word of mouth, to become educated about this topic. Abortion is not “killing babies.” There are various factors that play into this decision. Notice that the terminilogy used is “pro-choice” and not “pro-abortion.” I can guarantee that no person wakes up and is excited about abortions. It is a hard choice that needs to be made, which probably comes with an extreme psychological impact following the procedure.

I grew up in a Mexican household that was centered around Catholicism; I can say that a majority of my family members are pro-life/anti-abortion. Pro-life views, from what I’ve noticed, are largely based off of Christian/Catholic beliefs. The Catholic Church prohibits and condemns abortion; there are various Catholic associations such as National Federation for Life that oppose abortion. Considering the fact that the United States has no official religion, legislation should not be based on religious beliefs. Justice Samuel A. Alito, who wrote the opinion draft, is Catholic. Justice Clarence Thomas is Catholic. Justice Neil Gorsch was raised Catholic but now partakes in the Episcopal Church. Justice Brett Kavanaugh is Catholic. Justice Amy Coney Barrett is Catholic. All of these judges were said to vote with Alito in favor of this opinion draft. There is a problem here. SCOTUS is supposed to preside over the court in an unbiased matter. To me, it seems evident that these justices are using their faith to justify their choice in trying to overturn Roe v. Wade. Religious beliefs are a fundamental and important aspect of many people’s lives, but there is no place for religion within legislation. It goes back to separation between church and state, but it seems like with this situation, there is an obvious overlap. 

There are various situations that have to be considered with the topic of abortion. A huge factor is income. Children are expensive. If a woman is seeking out an abortion due to financial reasons, that seems justified. Being aware of your financial situation and then having to make the choice not to give birth because of that is a hard but responsible choice. If a teenage girl is pregnant, there is most likely no way that she would be able to financially support herself plus an additional child. If she makes the decision to have an abortion because she knows raising a child is not feasible, then that should be her choice to make. Having the child, if unsupported by her parents, could cause her to go into poverty. Raising children without being able to provide for their basic needs places a burden on the mother as well as the child. Lower income is associated with higher risk of mental illness, so why would you bring a child into the world at the risk of their mental health along with yours? 

Rape and incest situations have to be considered as well. If a woman is violated, she should not be forced to carry the child of her. Keep in mind that girls as young as 12, possibly even younger, have their period. Nobody should be forced to go through a pregnancy and give birth against their will. 

There have been reports of women giving birth and then literally throwing the newborn away. Of course, this is an inhumane action, but demonstrates what can happen if women are restricted from access to abortion. This is a scary reality that has to be considered. 

Outlawing abortions is not correlated with a lower amount of abortions, but it would increase a woman’s mortality associated with pregnacy. This could be due to trying to access an illegal abortion, which tend to be unsafe and unsanitary. Outlawing abortions does not diminish the abortion rate, but it does pave the way for higher risks for women. Worldwide, unsafe abortions are one of the leading cases for mortality during a pregancy. If a woman does survive an unsafe abortion, there is a chance that she could suffer from health issues following the procedure. Desperation can lead to unsafe and risky, but sometimes necessary choices; the reversal of Roe v. Wade would certainly lead to a rise in unsafe abortions as well as maternal mortality. 

Thirteen  states currently have “trigger bans” in place, which would mean if Roe v. Wade was to be overturned, abortion would immediately be illegal in that state. Various states already have bans that limit abortion. This is direct interference with a woman’s life and the government should not tell you what choices to make regarding your body, that would also impact the rest of your life. It concerns me how enthusiastic some legislators seem to be regarding the banning of abortion. Various states also have plans in place to either restrict or ban contraception. Contraception prevents pregnancy! It does not make sense to ban contraception because there is more of a likelihood of a woman getting pregnant. If you want abortion rates to lessen, banning contraception does not help at all.

As of right now, SCOTUS is majority conservative, with six conservative and three liberal justices. It seems like Alito’s (conservative justice) opinion draft opposes the conservative belief of “small government,” which means that there is minimal government involvement within the personal lives of citizens. The fact that SCOTUS is even considering reversing a precedent that minimizes government interference within the lives of citizens is extremely contradictory. Banning abortion is a direct interferance with someone’s personal choice. It is the government telling you what you can and cannot do, which is inconsistent with the idea of “small government.” 

 Roe v. Wade should not be overturned because that would be regression instead of progression for the United States as a whole. There should always be a push to make our overall situation better for everyone, and this is not a positive change for our environment at all. The reversal of this precedent would be detrimental to the United States and its citizens, especially to the population of women within this country.