People, not politics

The Supreme Court’s draft to overturn Roe vs. Wade endangers anyone with a uterus.


Cece Turk

Protesters against the Supreme Court’s draft to overturn Roe vs. Wade gathered at the corner of Carlsbad Blvd and Pine Ave on May 14, 2022. Receiving both cheers and boos from passing cars, the protesters chanted “Roe won’t go” and “My body, my choice”.

On May 2, Politico published a leaked draft regarding the Supreme Court’s potential overturn of Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 case guaranteeing federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. The leaked draft has become a major topic of debate recently. 

Justice Samuel Alito reasoned that the right to have an abortion wasn’t listed specifically in the Constitution, so the initial ruling was unconstitutional. Although the February draft will likely not be finalized for a couple of months, five out of the nine Supreme Court justices appear to support Alito’s claim to reverse Roe. 

The mayor of Encinitas, Catherine Blakespear, speaks to a crowd of pro-choice protesters.
“In order to have women be equal to men, we have to have the ability to make decisions about our own fertility,” Blakespear said. (Wendy Maddox)

If the court succeeds in overruling the case, individual states will have the power to make their own decisions regarding abortion rights. Currently, thirteen states have “trigger laws” set up to ban abortion immediately after Roe is overturned. Another thirteen states are expected to develop new laws to ban abortion. If this federal precedent is overridden, women in these states could resort to drastic measures to abort their pregnancies, which will put their lives at risk.

Abortions will not stop just because they’re illegal. Before doctors could perform safe abortions, women went to varying lengths to terminate their pregnancies, ranging from ingesting abortifacient herbs to damaging their abdomen area. Banning abortions will not prevent them from happening, it will simply force women to revert to medieval methods to do so.  

According to the World Health Organization, 23,000 women die each year due to unsafe abortions, along with tens of thousands of others who suffer compromised health. Making abortion illegal will especially affect women of lower socioeconomic status who are unable to pay out of pocket for discrete procedures or travel to clinics outside of their state. In states already restricting abortions, such as Texas, women seeking to terminate their pregnancies have become increasingly reliant on alternative approaches, often resulting in long-term side effects.

The fight to ban abortion is also rooted in the racism of our current healthcare system. According to ABC News in a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, “Black women died of maternal causes at nearly three times the rate of white women” in 2020. Black women faced 55.3 deaths per 100,000 in comparison to white women, who experienced 19.1 deaths per 100,000. Both Black women and Hispanic women faced a “statistically significant” increase in maternal deaths from 2019 to 2020. If we take away the right to an abortion, BIPOC will likely experience a disproportionate increase in maternal deaths over the next year in comparison to white women because of the systemic racism in our healthcare system.

Abortion should not be a political discussion because it is a discussion of basic human rights. The government should never be able to dictate what an individual does with their body because quite simply, it is not their body. Men are not told what to do with their bodies despite their equal responsibility for impregnating the woman. 

When the draft from the Supreme Court was leaked, the justices who voted in favor of the removal of our rights showed that they care more about the fetuses than the mothers: the mothers who are forced to give birth and are unable to financially support their own children, the mothers who are forced to give birth and leave their newborn child up for adoption or place them in the foster care system because they have no other choice, the mothers who are forced to give birth and die during labor. The mothers who are forced to give birth and must experience the trauma of childbirth because the U.S. now governs their uterus. 

Protests erupted across the country after Politico published the Supreme Court’s leaked draft to reverse Roe. (Wendy Maddox)

If this debate is about caring for children, the government should be putting its efforts into providing better prenatal and postnatal care. If the ethics of abortion are really the issue, more focus must be put on increasing access to birth control, child support and better foster care systems.

Mothers need to be supported through access to free, equal healthcare, as well as paid maternity leave. According to the Washington Post, the United States is one of few countries lacking a mandate for paid parental leave, the others all being middle or low-income countries. 

This isn’t just an attack on abortion. This is an attack on everyone who has a uterus. If the Supreme Court can so easily strip the rights from our bodies, we are afraid of what other rights will be taken away from us next. Will all people with uteruses have safe access to Plan B? Or safe access to condoms and other contraceptives?

Taking away abortion rights effectively places more value on the potential life of the fetus than that of the mother. It reduces an individual’s value down to that of a reproductive vessel. We don’t exist simply to bear children. Everyone deserves to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, and no one should have the right to take that choice away. 

Our body, our choice. And we will fight to keep it that way.