Overturning Roe v. Wade would be disastrous, detrimental to women in America

After a leak suggesting the overturn of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court case, Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider argues for reproductive rights.

Graphic Jula Utzschneider

After a leak suggesting the overturn of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court case, Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider argues for reproductive rights.

Millions of women across the US could soon lose their legal right to abortion, according to a leaked Supreme Court majority opinion. The document, published by Politico late Monday evening, suggests the possible overturning of the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

According to the majority opinion draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court would overturn Roe’s holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion. If the court strikes down the Roe v. Wade ruling, individual states could ban abortion if they wish. This would mean that over 36 million women who can become pregnant would lose access to this relevant medical treatment.

“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.

Banning abortions does not reduce the practice; it just forces women seeking abortions to do them unsafely. In areas where abortion is illegal (or highly restricted), women often resort to hazardous means of ending their unwanted pregnancies, including self-inflicted abdominal and bodily trauma, ingestion of dangerous chemicals and reliance on unqualified abortion providers, among others. From 2010 to 2014, the number of abortions that occured in countries where abortion is illegal was nearly identical to countries where it is legal. People will seek abortions whether they are legal or not. 

Meanwhile, when women can legally access abortion, it’s one of the safest medical procedures. In the United States, abortion has a safety record of over 99%—a percentage that will likely plummet with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Parenthood should not be forced. Children are more likely to grow up in a suitable environment when their parents actually want and have the ability to care for them. 

Furthermore, an abortion ban would disproportionately harm those with low incomes and individuals in rural areas. People without access to the resources and support they need to travel out of state may be forced to carry pregnancies against their will or seek abortion outside of the healthcare system.

Human rights are non-negotiable. Women have made incredible strides in recent years regarding equality and progress, Roe v. Wade included. This decision would erase nearly 50 years of precedent and could open the door for more oppressive legislation in the future

Ending Roe v. Wade is an attack on personal health. It is a fundamental right for individuals to make their own wellness decisions. It is important to realize, however, that this fight is not over yet, as the leaked document is merely a draft. We must continue all efforts to uphold the decision made in Roe v. Wade and prevent its overturning.

To contribute to the cause, you can contact your representatives at every level of government, and remind them of real-life consequences to abortion bans. If possible, you can also donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds where your contribution is split between nearly 80 different abortion clinics across state lines.