The Pundit: The Dangers of Overturning of Roe v. Wade
On Monday evening, a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito to overturn Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court was leaked to Politico and then to the public. This ruling would mean the end of the federal, constitutional protection of abortion. The power would go to the states, nearly half of which would declare abortion illegal almost immediately.
This is a vile infringement upon our freedoms that would open the door to dismantling further civil rights. In the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “the decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself.” She warned that “when the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.” With this disturbing opinion from the Supreme Court, that is exactly what will happen. It will deny women autonomy and equality to men. Here are some of the many horrifying implications:
First of all, overturning Roe will not stop women from getting abortions –– it will stop women from getting safe abortions. Women will find a way. Some will go to other states. Others won’t have the means and will turn to harmful methods that could lead to injury, inability to have children in the future or even death, not to mention serious mental health effects.
This decision will also have devastating economic implications and increase poverty, as studies have shown that families who are forced to keep unwanted pregnancies are more likely to lack full-time employment and to live below the poverty line. They are also more likely to require welfare. Funnily enough, these politicians trying to force women to carry pregnancies to term are the same politicians who oppose welfare and public assistance. These economic impacts would be exacerbated in a country with no paid maternity leave, subsidized child care or universal healthcare.
The economic effects will disproportionately affect people of color, who have higher rates of abortions, and poor women who wouldn’t be able to afford leaving their state and taking time off work to get an abortion. These people are also the ones who would not be able to afford to raise unplanned and potentially unwanted children. It would exacerbate their economic struggles, locking them in vicious, generational cycles of poverty.
Let’s think beyond this specific decision: overturning a decision in this manner has grave implications for the future of America’s court system, which ensures legal stability and equality. Overturning decisions that add necessary civil liberties to the Constitution, a living document, is dangerous.
The draft stands on the idea that Roe was unconstitutional. Justice Alito states that it’s “egregiously wrong” to constitutionally protect a right that was not originally in the Constitution. This reasoning is absurd. By this logic, plenty of other Supreme Court decisions would be deemed unconstitutional as well, including aspects of desegregation, interracial marriage, the right to buy contraceptives, the right to child custody and parents’ rights to choose how to raise their children, to name a few.
Their unsound logic could unravel our fundamental liberties. In what world could we consider this a free nation if an immensely personal decision about our own bodies that doesn’t affect other people’s health is controlled by politicians? This isn’t an issue of whether or not you believe abortion is unethical. This is about control. This is about taking away women’s rights.
Photo Caption: Protests at the Supreme Court
Photo Credit: Unsplash