Overturning Roe Is A Major Leap Backwards, Other Rights Now in Jeopardy with this Precedent

The U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) overturning of Roe v Wade — which granted the right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy and has been the law of the land for 50 years —  is a giant leap backwards. The 6-3 decision by the conservative-majority now leaves abortion laws to states to decide what condition for abortion, if any, will be allowed. More than half of states are expected to ban abortion completely even in extreme cases that involve rape and incest. Thirteen states had trigger laws in place that made abortions illegal immediately after the Roe decision.

The high court’s ruling will not affect the state of Hawaii where it will continue to be legal and available.

Health issue

Roe is about bodily autonomy, the right for women to have control of their own health, their bodies, and to control their own destiny. It is a health issue, a private decision between a woman and her physician. And politicians should not be interfering with women and their doctors on this very personal, life-impacting decision.

Roe gave women access to safe abortions; and with Roe gone, health experts say women’s health and even their lives could be at risk because women will continue to get it even if it means seeking it under unsafe conditions.

Majority of Americans support Roe

The latest Pew Research Center survey, conducted March 7 to 13, shows a majority of Americans support Roe. Over 60% of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. These views are relatively unchanged in the past few years.

Clearly there has been a national consensus on a women’s right to reproductive freedom for decades and for SCOTUS to make such a dramatic move to deny women this right is simply extremist ideology. Further, it would not have been possible if it weren’t for former President Donald Trump (who did not win the popular vote) appointing three ultra conservative justices to SCOTUS, two of which (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh) lied to U.S. senators during the confirmation process.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents.”

Previous SCOTUS courts had Republican justices upholding Roe and the rule of long-standing precedents. This current SCOTUS is uniquely extreme, even radical to a majority of Americans.

Women just became second-class citizens

Critics of Roe’s overturn say overnight women in this country have become second-class citizens. And they are right to think this. Women having control of their own bodies is basic to not just rights as a citizen, but as a human.

SCOTUS justices wrote in their dissent notes. “When the majority says that we must read our foundational charter as viewed at the time of ratification (except that we may also check it against the Dark Ages), it consigns women to second-class citizenship.”

The court’s liberal justices wrote further, “The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law.”

Slippery Slope

Justices who supported Roe’s overturn wrote that Roe was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.” Justice Samuel Alito wrote of Roe “It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State.”

Many legal experts believe Roe’s overturn is not a single issue and could lead to the striking down of other constitutional rights that became law in the same way of Roe.

Conservative SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court should reconsider rights like birth control and same sex marriage in future decisions.

SCOTUS justices opposing Roe’s overturn warned that other Supreme Court precedents securing “settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation” may now be in danger.

What now?

Congress can and should codify Roe as the next step. The obvious challenge is getting enough pro-reproductive rights politicians elected.

Inversely, it should be said that reproductive rights could get even more restrictive should Trumper Republicans win a majority in both the House and Senate. They could codify that abortions be banned nationally, which is precisely the reason why Americans in Blue states like in Hawaii where abortions remain legal are now vigilant over this issue.

Supporters of Roe point to missed opportunities. They say Congress should have codified Roe in the past 50 years when support of women’s reproductive rights was higher, even among Republican politicians.

So here we are as a nation, where for the first time, legal experts say SCOTUS has taken away a constitutional right already granted. Not just weakening or stripping away in parts a constitutional right, but taking it away entirely.

Having less rights, especially one that potentially could result in unnecessary deaths of women, is not the direction the country should be headed. Overturning Roe is a historical injustice that must be corrected. Roe is on the ballot this midterm. Get out and vote!

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