Women’s rights are once again threatened


Los Angeles Times

After news leaked of the Supreme Court’s decision people rushed to protest

Maddie Berendt, Senior Managing Editor

Among the issues women put up with everyday of their lives, the fight for the right to autonomy of their own body is at the top of the list.

With every step forward, women seek control over their own bodies, there is always someone  not too far behind, putting them three steps back.

It was a shocking yet terrifying moment for many women who woke up on May 3 to see that a leaked draft majority opinion suggested that the Supreme Court will vote in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, a case settled nearly 50 years ago that was a significant victory for the pro-choice movement. At the time Roe v. Wade was a monumental decision that helped women achieve much more bodily autonomy.

Roe v. Wade was a case brought forward by Norma McCorvey, who was under the alias of Jane Roe when she filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, who at the time was the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. She was outraged over the fact that a woman did not have complete control over her own body and was denied the opportunity to have an abortion unless it was to save the woman’s life.

The passing of Roe v. Wade upheld women’s right to privacy, which rests within the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Under that right to privacy, women were then legally allowed to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Along with that, children and transgender people were granted similar protections following in cases of reproductive health and sexual assault.

Roe v. Wade granted so much to women, but it also opened a door to aggression and disgusting behavior by those who opposed it. The tallest walls standing in the way of women having full control of their bodies are those who hold their personal religious beliefs over the rights of others

Separation of church and state is one of the founding principles of our nation. In a country that holds citizens who align with numerous religions or are not affiliated with any religion, it would seem highly disrespectful and harmful to force individuals to follow laws built around a religious belief. As of 2021 about 63% of the US population identified as Christian in some capacity while about 29% of Americans identify as atheist, agnostic, etc. according to Pewresearch.org. But when comparing it to national attitudes toward abortion, it’s clear that the majority of Americans consider themselves pro-choice. The Pew Research Center notes that 61 percent of Americans support the right to choose in most cases. Only 8 percent believe abortion should be illegal without exceptions.

It is unfair to force people, but more specifically women, to follow religious beliefs about what should be done with and to their bodies if they do not share the same beliefs. Truly, it’s unspeakable and baffling to think that this reality could occur in a country that is supposedly founded on religious and personal freedom. In every other country that abides by the belief of equal rights and women rights, freedom to seek an abortion if the women wants to is respected and given. For a place that preaches about being the best in all forms, it’s embarrassing that women aren’t being given basic human respect to control their own bodies.

The decision to overturn was not fully a surprise to most Americans though. Multiple conservative states have pushed for more restrictive legislation concerning abortions and miscarriages.

Texas was most famous at the front of the line when they presented a law in Sept. 2021 ruling an abortion as illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Coincidentally, a fetal heartbeat can be found as early as six weeks, the earliest a woman could find out if they’re pregnant is at 4 weeks. A majority of women know between four and seven weeks which realistically would leave no time to make a well thought out decision, make an appointment and receive proper medical treatment.

At this present time, this country is taking steps into the past instead of the future. The Supreme Court is traveling down a dangerous road that can and will destroy the lives of countless women and children just to satisfy their own religious beliefs. All around the country, individuals are being abandoned and let down by the people who are supposed to protect and defend them from the highest legal standpoint.

It has only been 100 years since women have been given the right to vote, 60 years since women were granted access to safe forms of birth control, 50 years since women were granted protection from educational discrimination, and 50 years since women were given the right to privacy. Although it seems like such a long time ago, those dates are recent when compared to that of white men because they’ve never had to fight for their rights— they were handed them at the country’s inception.

When the rights of a person are threatened and then taken away they become less and less of an individual and more of an object. There’s a very dangerous belief that a woman’s only purpose in life should be to have children. The action of placing one purpose on a person is dehumanizing and the fact that so many people are supportive of that idea is heartbreaking.

Aside from the barbaric decisions being made by the Supreme Court, it is vital to understand what will take place when a woman’s right to choice is stripped from her. There are a few different outcomes that could occur from a woman being forced to carry out a pregnancy.

In the case that the woman chooses to keep the child, there is a risk of poor treatment either because she is unable to mentally, physically and financially care for the child or because there is resentment present in the relationship that could result in emotional trauma to both mother and child.

If a woman decides not to keep the baby, the next option would either be going to a family member or going into foster care. While the foster care system’s purpose is to remove children from unsafe environments and place them with adults or families who can properly care for them, the reality of what it does is not as positive. There are thousands of children in the foster care system who are never adopted, get tossed around from home to home, and face horrendous amounts of trauma. For something that is so important, there is no care being put into the decisions and actions of the Supreme Court and all those in support of the pro-life movement. This is life, not only of one but two people. A person can’t just be stripped of a natural right and tossed aside like it’s nothing.

The act of getting an abortion isn’t chosen from violent intent. So many pieces of the puzzle are at play and it will never be fair to assume that a woman gets an abortion just because.

Some women can die from childbirth or their body physically can not develop a healthy fetus. Then there are the instances when someone is violated in the most aggressive way against their will and the idea of carrying the after effect of that assault for nine months is terrifying.

No positives can be brought out of this situation knowing nothing will change for the better. There will always be two sides to the fight. Society can’t keep going backwards but to move forward to a more united modern mind there is so much to be fought for.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned it will not stop women from getting abortions, it will just stop them from getting safe abortions.  So in an attempt to save a life that hasn’t even begun yet, there is risk of ending another.

People will fight for a right that should never be teased and sadly this will go down in history as when women have been failed once again by those who should be protecting them.