Abortion Rights in Flux

On the evening of Friday, June 24, 2022, it was made public to the nation that the United States Supreme Court had overturned Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion in 1973. Historically, in the year 1970, a woman by the fictional name of “Jane Roe” (Norma McCorvey 1947-2017), whose name was protected on legal documentation at the time, had filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, Former district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. McCorvey was five months pregnant when she decided to have an abortion. Although the laws in her hometown in Texas were extremely restrictive, and only permitted women to have an abortion if following through with the pregnancy to the day of delivery ultimately threatened the woman’s health. However, a societal breakthrough was presented when on the day of January 22, 1973, the court issued their ruling, by a 7-to-2 majority, in effectively legalizing abortion access throughout the United States of America. Now after nearly 50 years, The United States Supreme Court declared that the constitutional right to abortion, no longer exists. This decision has incredibly harmful repercussions on the reproductive health of individuals throughout America, particularly African-American and Hispanic women, as well as it places an immense strain on the potential healthcare restrictions for LGBTQ+ individuals. 

A majority of Americans disapprove of the court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, around 62% of individuals throughout the U.S. believe that abortion should be legal in all states throughout the country. Currently, abortion is completely banned in thirteen states with no exceptions for rape and incest, including; Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In a few states abortion is banned after a certain amount of weeks of pregnancy. The list is as follows; in Georgia abortion is banned after six weeks, in Arizona abortion is banned after fifteen weeks, in Florida abortion is banned after fifteen weeks, in Utah abortion is banned after eighteen weeks and in North Carolina abortion is banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In eleven states, abortion is legal, but limited. While in sixteen states, abortion is fully legalized. 

Recently, where the right to abortion is banned, an Alabama clinic spoke out about being forced to turn away individuals who come to seek an abortion, and now must be turned away because of The Supreme Court’s decision to make it illegal in a state such as Alabama. According to TIME, Robin Marty, director of operations at West Alabama’s Women’s Center spoke on the issue, “Because the truth is, we can’t go away. While we can no longer provide elective abortions, we need to be here for the newly pregnant single mom who came to us for prenatal care because no doctor would see her until her Medicaid approval came through. We need to be here for the terrified woman in her 50s who showed up for an IUD, even though she was near menopause, because she knew a pregnancy at her age would potentially kill her and we have no clear rules on how “in danger” someone’s life has to be before an abortion is legally allowed” (Marty). Now while this clinic can longer authorize and provide the proper care to patients seeking an abortion, they are attempting to be as helpful as they can in providing non-abortion services. The clinic is currently sending as many individuals as they can to Atlanta, Georgia, which is the closest place in proximity where abortion is still legal. *This unfortunately no longer applies, since then Georgia has banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. 

The effect of the overturn of Roe v Wade has already negatively affected so many individuals across the United States and will only continue to negatively affect individuals unless any kind of advancements are made. Essentially, in states where abortion is currently illegal, women are basically forced to proceed with childbirth, which has a fourteen times higher risk of death than that of having an abortion. The outcome should be simple as women having the choice on what to do with their bodies. According to an interview with a Professor of Sociology at American University, “They found that denying these women an abortion creates economic hardship and insecurity that lasts for years. Compared with women who obtained their desired abortion, women denied the abortion had lowered credit scores as well as increased debt, bankruptcies, and evictions. Women turned away from getting an abortion were also more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner” (Patty Housman). It is extremely saddening that a basic human right is being taken away from individuals throughout the country, and all of the repercussions that follow the decisions of certain states. 


American University

Smithsonian Magazine

Time Magazine