Abortion laws have been an ongoing debate for centuries. Well, whether women have the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies has been the topic of many courtrooms, which are more often than not filled by men.
Let’s rewind all the way back to 1973. That’s right, 1973. Which sounds like ages ago, because it was. Abortion was highly illegal in most states, and obtaining aprroval for these operations was incredibly difficult. Roe v Wade was a U.S. Supreme Court issued case fighting for women’s abortion rights. Jane Roe was an unmarried pregnant woman who fought to challenge the abortion laws of Texas at the time. The court ruled in favor of a woman’s “right to privacy,” meaning a female has the right to choose if they have an abortion or not. Almost 50 years later, and America is still going back to the same argument.
In 2018, the Mississippi state legislature banned abortions after 15 weeks, with the exception of medical emergencies. The case, Dobbs v Women’s Health Organization, is being brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in July, and the decision has the ability to overturn all the progress that has been made since Roe v Wade.
There are countless arguments surrounding abortion laws, but the reality is, abortion laws don’t prevent abortions. Furthering abortion regulations means increasing the number of unsafe abortions. Doctors Without Borders argues that “when a woman or girl is determined to end her pregnancy she will do so, regardless of the safety and legality of the procedure. Where safe abortion care is not available, she will often risk her life with an unsafe abortion because the prospect of continuing the pregnancy is unbearable.” These highly illegal and dangerous abortions are highly preventable, and the answer is rather simple. How do you stop women from performing these life threatening practices? Making abortion legal.
We are fortunate to live in a country where abortion is legal in many states. Back in September, Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. There was a noticeable decrease in the number of legal abortions performed, but not because women weren’t getting abortions, but because women were getting abortions elsewhere. A New York Times article supporting the idea that abortions occur regardless of the laws in place, researcher Kari White states, “The law has not done anything to change people’s need for abortion care; it has shifted where people are getting their abortions.” Nonetheless, if Roe v Wade is overturned, safe abortion access would be more difficult than ever. According to the New York Times, “Should Roe be overturned, at least 20 states will immediately or in short order make almost all abortions unlawful, forcing women who can afford it to travel long distances to obtain the procedure.” What happens to women who don’t have this privilege?
Keeping abortion operations safe and legal is imperative for women all over the country. It feels like we are moving backwards in history. The Constitution protects the right of free speech, press, religion, yet women still don’t have control over their own bodies. The most frustrating fact of the matter is the majority of individuals making these decisions are men.
Now more than ever, as members of a democracy, we must take action to preserve our rights as human beings. Support your local abortion clinic, talk to your legislators, use your voice- for those who can’t. Abortion should be a right for all women — there is no need for debate. Women are tired. Tired of fighting the same battle, over and over again.