It’s like women in the United States were sent back to the time that was. Specifically, before 1973. On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. With Roe v Wade in place, it guaranteed pregnant women throughout the US access to safe abortions across the country. With it not in place, America runs the risk of millions of its women seeking abortions taking the matter into their own hands. Data taken from the Brazillian Public Health Magazine, RESS reported that between the years 2008 and 2018, a striking two million-plus women were hospitalized due to unsafe abortion procedures. With the overturning of the bill that saved many women and gave them the freedom to exercise decision-making rights over their bodies, their freedom was scribbled away and in that instant, the lives of women were changed. However, before there was history to be made, Roe v Wade started with a court case between Norma McCorvey and Henry Wade.
“The decision concerned the case of Norma McCorvey, known by the legal anonym ‘Jane Roe’. Norma, in 1969, became pregnant with her third baby. McCorvey desired an abortion, however, she lived in Texas, a state where abortion was illegal except when it was necessary to save the mother’s life. Her lawyers, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, filed a legal proceeding on her behalf in the US judiciary against the local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas’s abortion laws were unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in her favor. The state of Texas then appealed to the US Supreme Court. In January 1973, the US Supreme Court issued a 7–2 call in McCorvey’s favor while the ruling said – The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion,” as reported by shethepeople online media outlet.
The 2022 ruling in favor of Roe v Wade being overturned was centered around the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson, according to information hub Wikipedia, is a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the court held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion. The court’s decision overruled both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Wikipedia continues to explain, “The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was about the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law that banned most abortion operations after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, had sued Thomas E. Dobbs, state health officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health, in March 2018. Lower courts had prevented enforcement of the law with preliminary injunctions. The injunctions were based on the ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had prevented states from banning abortion before fetal viability, generally within the first 24 weeks, on the basis that a woman’s choice for abortion during that time is protected by rights to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” The information hub goes on to say that they met again in December 2021 to continue making their plea to the Supreme Court. Then, months later in May, political journalism company, Politico came into possession of a draft leak that detailed the intended overturning of Roe v. Wade which matched the decision made on June 24, 2022.
In the wake of its overturn, outrage has been expressed not only by women in America but globally. The overturn of Roe v Wade has been deemed an assault on women’s rights and a blow to democracy on a global scale with grave consequences to be experienced worldwide. The decision that deals with the fate of a woman’s future has been met with great backlash. It is the determining factor between life and death, and the thing that stands between the future they want and what they’re to accept. With details from Open Society, “The decision reverses nearly 50 years of precedent in the United States, explicitly ending federal Constitutional protections for abortion, diminishing the rights of women, and threatening their access to reproductive care. With the significant hurdles already confronting those seeking to access reproductive care in the U.S., this decision will not only exponentially increase those who are impacted but will hurt communities systemically failed by health systems the most—especially communities of color and poor women. This is particularly concerning given the role the United States has played in championing human rights globally. Roe v. Wade inspired movements and laws in countries such as Tunisia and Cape Verde, and activists across the globe have expressed alarm at the prospect of other countries emulating the Supreme Court’s decision. This ruling may also signal a return to U.S. obstructionism on sexual and reproductive health and rights globally, and a renewed effort to withdraw U.S. funding for reproductive health care.”
In a 5-4 ruling, the right to abortion which was upheld for decades ended. Among those against the ruling were Justices Stephen Breyer, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The first was appointed by Former President Bill Clinton and the remaining two, were by former President Barack Obama. With this overturn, according to them, “young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” Additionally stating that “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs.” That it is “With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
Speaking also on the issue that is June 24th’s ruling against women’s rights is American actress, activist and feminist, Jane Fonda. “I am sickened! Really? The United States of America has joined with backward countries who still have these almost medieval views of the role of women? It’s beyond shocking. It’s kind of unbelievable. I’m hoping it will mobilize women to vote this November. I’m hoping it will galvanize progressive people to vote because of what’s at stake. But the Supreme court has lost credibility, it has become a right-wing swamp. A swamp.” Former First Lady Michelle Obama made known her heartbreak and disappointment in the Roe v. Wade overturn via social media. “So yes,” Michelle said, “I am heartbroken – for the teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won’t be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state controls her reproductive decisions; for the mother of a nonviable pregnancy who is now forced to bring that pregnancy to term; for the parents watching their child’s future evaporate before their very eyes; for the health care workers who can no longer help them without risking jail time.” The former FLOTUS continued, “I am heartbroken that we may now be destined to learn the painful lessons of a time before Roe was made law of the land – a time when women risked losing their lives getting illegal abortions,” she added. “A time when the government denied women control over their reproductive functions, forced them to move forward with pregnancies they didn’t want, and then abandoned them once their babies were born.”
On June 24th, 2022 the decision was made to put the lives of women and unborn babies in the deciding hands of the law. What was once a free and personal decision, suddenly calls for permission and justifications of why. What was once a landmark decision ensuring that pregnant women were able to choose to have an abortion, has been nuked. Although we’re in 2022, what pregnant women are now faced with since June 24th, according to Michelle Obama it’s equivalent to “what our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived through, and now here we are again.”