With the decision of Roe V Wade being overturned, many are feeling turmoil and distress. Now is the time to deep dive into the history of Roe V Wade and understand the implications of this decision and how it will impact women and other major issues going forward.
Roe v Wade was actually a piggyback ruling from Griswold v Connecticut. In the Griswold case it was found that we have the right to privacy through the 9th amendment and that the state cannot interfere with one’s right to contraception. It was also noted that just because a right is not enumerate does not mean that it is not a right. Keep in mind the constitution was written in 1787. Even then the founding fathers knew they could not possibly account for everything and every situation in the future. The 9th amendment is a very important part of the constitution that reads; “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people”. It was James Madison’s attempt to ensure that the Bill of Rights was not seen as granting to the people of the United States only the specific rights it addressed. In Roe the court determine that the states had no compelling interest in the fetus during the first trimester, and therefore could not regulate abortion rights during that period. So, within that time span the woman had full choice over her body and fetus and therefore could do whatever she wanted regarding her pregnancy. When Roe was overturned it was state that the rationale for Roe based upon Griswold being defective. This is an extremely important detail. The court is essentially proclaiming that there is NO constitutionally protected right to privacy. Which means many other cases may also fall. The Griswold case is up for debate and with it-gay marriage along with gay rights. All these issues are completely related and built upon each other. Overturning Roe has more implications than removing a federal constitutional right of privacy respecting aboriton decisions. Much more can come and likely will come from this ruling.
As woman and healthcare workers are sharing what they are experiencing and we are already seeing the negative impact of Roe being overturned. One woman went to the ER because she was having extreme abdominal pain. She was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy that was beginning to rupture. An ectopic pregnancy means the fetus gets stuck in the Fallopian tube and is not and will never be viable. The Fallopian tube cannot carry a fetus and therefore the fetus needs to be removed or aborted. Abortion by definition means to deliberately terminate a human pregnancy. This is a medical choice that needed to be made between that woman and her doctors. However, because the overturning of Roe she was unable, in her state, to get immediate surgery she needed to remove the fetus. The doctor was required to contact a lawyer and make sure everything was legal before proceeding, and making sure that the woman’s life was “at enough risk”. In that time the woman’s fallopian tube almost ruptured and she subsequently almost died. There should be no quesdotn at any time if that fetus can or cannot be removed. This is unfortunately just the beginning, and we will continue to see women suffer and possibly even die. We are no longer able to put a woman’s needs first and have safe reproductive healthcare.
The morning after pill and the abortion pill have also quickly sold out after Roe was overturned. The day after the decisions was announced I went to pick up my own birth control perscription from the pharmacy where I took a gander at the Plan B section. At my local pharmacy they were completely sold out and the pharmacist informed me that many stores are experiencing the same situation. I was curios and took to the internet where I found much of the same. Many websites that offered the morning after pill for free were completely out of stock and some websites were even crashing because of so much user activity. Women are incredibly scared and naturally it makes sense to want to be prepared. A lot of people are wondering what we can now to make change and support women. You can donate to websites that offer birth control and the morning after pill which will help raise funds to help women in need and who cannot afford these medicate stories receive them for free. Supporting these websites and organizations will directly support woman’s reproductive needs.
A new sub category of pro-life is emerging called pro-life “with exception”. Pro-life with exception is just as problematic as just pro-life. People with this ideology believe that you should be able to receive and abortion in the case of incest or rape. However, many rapes are not even reported to the police, therefore making this entire exception moot for many. Women who try to file a report are often not believed or taken seriously. If they are not believed and cannot confirm a rape has occurred what is a woman supposed to do then?
We can also expect to see some extremely negative economic changes in the future from the overturning of Roe. I wonder what the quality of life will be for children that are forced to be born. One is not truly profile if one believes that forcing a woman to have a child is in the best interest of the child. There is no way to know for certain but think of the reasons why a woman might get an abortion. If the woman (or girl) was raped she could be of childrearing age while also being a child herself or a teenager. She could be totally financially unstable and unable to care for a child. Keep in mind that adopting may be a good option but it is not the end all be all solution as it comes with its own issues.
On any given day about 424,000 children are living the U.S. foster care system and over 122,000 of these children are eligible for adoption and will wait years to be adopted. Many don’t even make it to adoption and simply age out of the foster care system. KIDS COUNT is an organization that provides research and statistics on children who experience abuse and neglect in the foster care system. It also gives a state-by-state breakdown of different numbers if you are interested in checking out your own state. In 2022 their research determined that 16% (or 1 in 5) children are physically abused in the system, 9% of children were found to be sexually abused and 6% of children were found to be emotionally abused. Putting an unwanted child up for adoption is not the solution for forced births.
Luckily for Florida women, the second judicial circuit state that the ban on abortion is a violation of the state’s constitutional right to privacy. Meaning that women in the state of Florida do have the right to a safe and legal abortion. The judges ruling stands on the right to medical privacy. Abortions are a medical procedure that is protected by Florida’s constituoinal right of privacy and HIPPA. This is an incredible win for the state and Florida still has a long way to go.
Every woman should have the right to bodily autonomy and have the right to choose what happens to their body. Every woman should also have the right to safe and legal contraception. In light of Roe being overturned and Griswold being scrutinized the right to contraception is likely also going to be questioned. Moreover, a lot of women take birth control for serious health conditions and not just for pregnancy prevention. I have PMDD and my birth control is used to keep me safe and alive. Women who suffer from endometriosis sometimes find it to be a lifesaver. Removing the right to contraception will have dire consequences. Overturning Roe and deeming it unconstitutional is extremely frightening. It is infringing on a woman’s right to privacy from interference from the government. Lastly, it is also infringing on the consitutional right to pursue happiness.