By Alex Gryciuk
TW: Abortion, Sexual Assult, Rape
A huge breach of confidentiality and shock to the world—Politico leaked a draft opinion of the Supreme Court that articulated a strong notion to repeal the rulings established in Roe v. Wade. In 1973, Roe v. Wade challenged Texas’s criminalization of abortion when “Jane Roe,” a fake name to protect the identity of the defendant (Norma McCorvey), took federal action against the district attorney of Dallas country, Henry Wade. Justified by the protection of the 14th Amendment (right to privacy), the ruling of Roe v. Wade made it legal for a woman to have an abortion without excessive government restriction until 24 weeks of pregnancy in all 50 states. If repealed, it would be up to states to decide whether or not abortion would be legal. According to a political analysis of policy done by the Guttenmacher Institute, 22 states would defintitly remove the rights to abortion and four would likely limit or elminate the rights to a safe aboriton; resulting in more than half of American states banning abortion.
The notion to overturn Roe v. Wade is not only a moral dilemma, but a gross attack on women’s and human rights; despite what anti-safe abortion protesters insist upon. Often times arguments made against aborition revolve around moral, religious values: life begins at conception, women should not use abortion as contraception, abortion is murder, fetusus feel pain during the procedure, God created the baby and thus shouldn’t be aborted, etc. Using this ideological reasoning, Anti-abortionists call themselves Pro-lifers. Quite a smart name. Intuitively, you wouldn’t want to be against human life or protecting born babies. If you aren’t Pro-life, you must be Pro-death. However, Pro-choice couldn’t be farther from the Pro-death notion or even Pro-abortion stance that they are perceived as having. Personally, I don’t believe that abortion is necessarily something that I fully support in most instances. However, I believe in the fundamental right to choose to have safe abortions if absolutely necessary. What if someone gets raped? Sexually assaulted? Becomes unable to care for the child when born? Abuses drugs? Have medical complications that could kill them if they gave birth? Rather than Pro-death or “Pro-murder” that many anti-abortion protesters insist upon, Pro-choice advocates for access to safe abortions, while not necessarily advocating that women get abortions. Roe v. Wade and Pro-choicers simply protect the right to choose, to free will, to living comfortably in the land of the free.
The fact still stands that abortions still occur in states, nations, regions, etc where abortion is deemed illegal. According to a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, an unbiased scientific research hub, “Less restrictive abortion laws do not appear to entail more abortions overall…where abortion laws are the most restrictive and contraceptive use is lower, the rates range from the mid-20s to 39 per 1000 women”. Abortions rather than reducing in amount increase where abortion is illegal; women differ to using illegal methods. Horrifying, “unsafe abortion include drinking toxic fluids such as turpentine, bleach, or drinkable concoctions mixed with livestock manure” in addition to “placing a foreign body such as a twig, coat hanger, or chicken bone into the uterus” or “methods of external injury…such as jumping from the top of stairs or a roof, or inflicting blunt trauma to the abdomen”. These methods result in “Abortion-related deaths are more frequent in countries with more restrictive abortion laws (34 deaths per 100,000 childbirths) than in countries with less restrictive laws (1 or fewer per 100,000 childbirths)” and the “additional risks of maternal morbidity and mortality depend on what method of abortion is used.” If “Pro-lifers” were really for life, they wouldn’t put women in danger and allow for better, safer options for abortions because they still occur, legally or not. Women should have the ability, the right to choose safe methods of abortion that Roe v. Wade protects.
All in all, Abortion in the United States exists as an extremely polarizing topic for all the wrong reasons. The discussion should not revolve solely be based on whether abortions are morally right, that is a personal opinion. Rather, it should be what it means to you personally and the ability to get one so should you have to. The reality is that one out of every 6 women in the United States have experienced attempted or complete rape, 90% of adult rape victims are female, and 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. For women who do not choose to even have sex in the first place, abortion is a safe way to prevent physical and mental damage. Abortion is a way to protect women and their bodily autonomy. The reality is that the United States does not guarantee paid maternity leave and the average cost of daycare in the United States is $11,896 per year ($991 a month) for infants and $10,158 per year ($847 a month) for toddlers. Mothers do not get support for having a child when they are born. Abortions offer an option for women to maintain a comfortable, livable situation and survive. Abortions should be a choice that the mother makes for herself; not a tyrant government. That ability to choose in a country that prides itself in freedom and individualism should always be protected. An attack on Roe v. Wade is an attack on choice, freedom, and especially on women’s rights.