Opinion: Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn “Roe v. Wade” threatens women’s rights


Protesters demonstrate against the leaked draft opinion in Washington, DC. Photo by Lilli Libowitz (LT)

Sasha Karasik, Reporter

After generations of women who fought to gain basic autonomous rights, I have been lucky to live in a time when women in the United States don’t have to worry about the government criminalizing abortions. Now, all of that progress is going down the drain because of nine justices who think they are entitled to control what we do with our bodies. 

Last Monday, Politico published a leaked draft of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Written by Justice Samuel Alito, the draft majority opinion would overturn the monumental ruling and precedent of Roe v. Wade which ensures that abortion is a protected federal and constitutional right. 

Roe v. Wade was decided over 50 years ago, and if this draft majority opinion becomes the final ruling, states will be able to criminalize abortions at all points during pregnancy without any exceptions for rape, incest, human trafficking, etc. 

The consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade would be devastating. Not only because women’s autonomous rights would be stripped away, but because of the harmful economic states it would leave women in. 

Scientific American hosted a podcast with Diana Greene Foster, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Foster led the Turnaway Study, a panel study of nearly 1,000 women who seeked abortions who either were granted them or were “turned away” because they were past the gestational cutoff. In her study, Foster found that the women who were denied abortions experienced a greater amount of bankruptcies, greater debt and evictions. 

Being forced to bear an unwanted child made these women’s lives more complicated than it already was, and it’s not like these women weren’t opposed to having children in general. In reality, many women who seek abortions while young have children later on in life, when they are physically, mentally and financially prepared. 

A secure home is an extremely important component in raising a child. Forcing women who doesn’t want a child to give birth to one won’t make her suddenly become maternal. These unprepared parents will have their lives derailed, and these unwanted children will end up living in awful circumstances.

Additionally, many of the public’s claims in support of this leaked ruling are completely baseless. For example, the claim that most people get abortions late in pregnancy is false. According to NPR, over 90% of abortions happen in the first 13 weeks, or the first trimester. Less than 1% of people who get abortions get them after the fetus is 21 weeks.

Furthermore, the claim that fetuses feel pain early on in a pregnancy is also false. From information given to them by medical researchers, NPR also reported that a fetus is not capable of experiencing pain until the third trimester, between 29 or 30 weeks. In spite of this, 16 states have passed abortion bans based on the notion that fetuses feel pain at around the 22 week mark. 

How can the United States constantly preach values of individual rights and freedom, yet take away a right so crucial based on unreliable sources and unfounded beliefs? Individual rights give people the opportunity to pursue their desires and lives without being encroached upon by other people or the government. If people have religious objections to getting an abortion, then they don’t have to get one. 

While the United States is a predominantly Christian country, it prides itself on its religious and racial diversity. For people in power to make decisions solely based on their own beliefs is completely unethical and bad for the actual citizens of the United States. 

According to a study conducted by the Pew research center, most Americans don’t want  Roe V. Wade to be overturned. They found that 59 percent of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. So how can the United States, a thriving democracy, take away a basic autonomous right against the will of the people?

Abortions are a human right that all people deserve to have, and taking it away would just prove that the United States is straying further and further from the free and fair country it once was.