By Agalby Morel
Background on Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade was a lawsuit that led to the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The majority opinion found an absolute right to abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Jane Roe was a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Dallas, Texas. McCorvey tried to have an illegal abortion in Dallas, but the clinic she was recommended to go to was closed down by authorities. Eventually, she was referred to attorneys who were looking for pregnant women seeking abortions. Her case, Roe v. Wade, took three years to reach the Supreme Court of the United States. During the lawsuit, she gave birth to a girl and placed her up for adoption. The Supreme Court decision in her case changed the landscape of gender equality in the United States, making abortions safer and more accessible across the country. It was a monumental win for all people who can get pregnant.
2022: Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade
On June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has protected women’s rights for over 50 years, will immediately change how access to abortion looks in America.
Justice Samuel Alito and five other conservative Supreme Court Justices wrote the majority opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Supreme Court decision that upheld abortion rights, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Alito wrote, “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”.
This Supreme Court decision came a day after the Supreme Court invalidated a century-old New York law that made it very difficult for people to obtain a license to carry a gun outside of their homes. We are living in a time in history where we have a court that’s more conservative than it’s been in decades, and even though it is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to find a constitutional right and then eliminate it afterwards, it’s becoming a reality due to the polarized court we now have.
Why abortion rights are important
Restricting abortions doesn’t stop or reduce the number of abortions, it just makes abortions less safe, and can lead to fatal consequences because they won’t be carried out by a trained medical provider. Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Criminalizing abortions prevents doctors from providing basic care. Doctors will be forced to prevent a pregnancy termination because they are bound by the law.
The denial of medical services, including reproductive health services that only certain individuals need, is a form of discrimination against all people, but especially trans and nonbinary people who already may face other forms of gendered discrimination.
What Can You Do?
Research your individual state laws. Research what obstacles may now be in place for you to have reproductive freedom. Some states already banned abortions after six weeks, half of the states had trigger laws, which went into effect immediately, and some states will implement more liberal rules governing the termination of pregnancies.
Donate to support abortion patients
Register to vote