The abortion ban has been a controversial topic in the United States, and this is not the first time the debate has been to the Supreme Court. It has become one of the most important political issues in the country recently. The Court ruled in Roe v Wade that abortion is a constitutionally protected right. But in recent years, the Court has overturned several abortion rights rulings and is still dealing with a politically charged case. In the United States, abortion is legal in the first trimester of pregnancy, and the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade established a right to abortion in the second trimester. The case triggered the issue of abortion to be considered a political issue in the United States. The issue of abortion is a right to privacy which is abstract as analyzed during the Griswold v. Connecticut case of 1965. This discussion will explore the history of abortion rights in the US and the political climate surrounding the current abortion ban.
The US Supreme Court issued a decision that would lead to a significant change in America. Roe v. Wade would become the law of the land and eventually lead to the legalization of abortion in the United States. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act would not apply to women seeking an abortion. This ruling was issued on January 26, and the law was proclaimed on February 13. Abortions have been common for many years, and this ruling is a significant victory for women who want a healthy, safe, and legal abortion. The Supreme Court ruled that the ban on partial-birth abortion is unconstitutional. While the decision was undoubtedly controversial then, it’s interesting to think about its impact on today’s world. While the abortion ban is focused on abortion, its real aim is to make women more restrictive of their reproductive rights.
Roe vs. Wade
Norma McCorvey, given the fake name “Jane Roe,” became a petitioner at the Supreme Court in 1973. Having conceived at sixteen years, she had to give her children up for adoption, which led her to consider having an abortion, which was at the time against Texas law. The Texas law dictated that only people who were at risk of losing their lives could get an abortion. Therefore, Jane Roe, accompanied by her lawyers, filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas.
The Supreme Court ruled against Texas law by establishing that abortion was a constitutional right. This ruling allowed people to get an abortion during the first trimester without the state’s interference. This law, later called “Roe v. Wade,” governed that people could access safe abortion care, which was a triumph in reproductive rights. The Supreme Court divided the pregnancy period according to how the law would be established. During the first trimester, the Court affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion as long as she received counseling from a medical professional. After the first trimester, a woman could obtain an abortion without medical counseling. During the second trimester, a woman’s abortion procedure can only be performed if the woman’s life or health is at risk.
Before Roe vs. Wade ruling, abortion was done but under risky measures that resulted in either contracting an infection or extreme bleeding. According to the Department of Disease Control and Prevention measures, abortion is an intervention performed by a licensed clinician (CDCs Abortion Surveillance System FAQs | CDC, 2022). The Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s right to an abortion, was based on the idea that a fetus is not a person and therefore does not have the same rights as a human being. Therefore, accessibility of a safe abortion procedure was a fundamental determinant of the law.
Abortion Rights Protections
After the Roe v. Wade implementation, some abortion rights protections were instilled to ensure the law was followed. First, the statutory protection for abortion was issued to ensure each state protected abortion rights. Second, a state Medicare program for abortion care was administered to ensure the federal government was funding the abortion services to be accessible to incidences such as rape, incest, or endangerment. The third is clinic safety and accessibility protection, which focuses on ensuring safety measures are applied in clinics for safe services. There have been harassment, threats, and obstruction of clinics protected by this law (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2022). Finally, the interstate shied protection law safeguards service providers from criminal consequences outside their states. This protection is especially vital now that abortion bans have been implemented in several states.
Overturn of the Roe v. Wade
The issue of abortion continues to divide Americans. One side believes that women and unborn children should be protected by their right to have an abortion, while the other thinks abortion is murder and that abortion should be banned in the United States. These controversies led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022 (Housman, 2022), which instituted that abortion policies would be handled at the state level. The decision of Roe v. Wade 1973 was initially based on the right to privacy, which meant that women had the right to decide whether they would reproduce. This overturning of the law by the Supreme Court suggested that fifty years of protection were compromised, and more amendments on the same are on the verge of being made. With more states advocating for change, The Supreme Court’s ruling could also impact the future of Roe v. Wade.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade could have a profound impact on many women’s decisions to end their pregnancies. It was overturned in the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which ruled that states could pass more restrictive abortion laws. This decision was made in the interest of women’s health, but the anti-abortion movement has been working on getting it overturned again. It also requires clinics to have comparable facilities to ambulatory surgical centers.
To understand the overturn of Roe v. Wade, it is essential to consider the steps. First, some states constantly repealed the enforced law from the moment it was established. Secondly, there were the trigger bans that proposed to ban access to abortion entirely if Roe was overturned. Third, the pre-viability gestation bans were against Roe’s instructions regarding the gestation age period. Fourth, reason bans, although in rare cases, are the laws that prohibit having an abortion for peculiar reasons such as the race or gender of the baby. Fifth is self-managed abortion which was imposed to criminalize anyone that performed an abortion away from a healthcare setting. Although abortion is still legal in some states, these bans could potentially lead to the law being overruled because of how they have already stifled the law.
Subsequently, different abortion restrictions make Roe v. Wade susceptible to change. Parental involvement is one of the law restrictions that require young people seeking an abortion to have consent from their parents or guardian before any services are done (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2022). Then, there are consent laws that are implemented in the hopes of dissuading the mother from accessing abortion services by requiring them to take non-medical counseling sessions. Finally, the Hyde Amendment forbids the government from funding abortion services. Not being able to finance abortion services makes it expensive for people to access those services, which may result in them not going for the services or going for harmful methods.
Impact of Abortion Ban
Abortion is currently banned and heavily restricted in approximately fourteen states. Nine states have already affirmatively banned abortion, with others in pursuit to follow. This change will impact abortion providers being prohibited from offering their services. People who had prescheduled appointments and were met with the ban in their states have rushed to secure appointments in other states where abortion is still legal. In return, it has caused an emergency rush to these hospitals, extending their appointments and hiring new staff to remain efficient. While these states are increasing their facilities, they remain vigilant and prepared as things might change for them soon.
The abortion ban has several negative impacts on the mother. Studies have shown that in five years, around a thousand women denied access to abortion would be experiencing financial hardships and insecurity. These women experienced home evictions, increased debt, and bankruptcy within those years (Housman, 2022). Additionally, most of the people that require abortion access usually have sound reasons, such as unfair distribution of resources that lead to poverty and racism.
The abortion ban ruling means that women will not have access to medical abortion. Therefore, most will use harmful methods, such as physically inserting foreign objects through the cervix, potentially leading to infections. This further puts the mother at risk. Further, the prediction of mortality rate will drastically increase, especially for women of color already experiencing high death rates. Children born into unstable homes are more likely to die earlier because of their social, financial, and health issues.
The ban on partial-birth abortion pushed the focus on the issue of abortion. A partial-birth abortion is when a doctor delivers the fetus but then stops before the fetus is fully born. The law on partial-birth abortion is intended to prevent doctors from performing this procedure. It is similar to a criminal law against murder, punishable by incarceration. The recent bans on abortion in the states created controversies identical to those raised on the partial-birth abortion ban. It is more likely that the bans will not end there as more cases are being led to the Court concerning abortion issues.
Before the abortion ban, it was already a skeptical issue in hospitals. Now that the abortion ban has been established in several states and scrutinization has peaked, it will become harder for mothers whose lives are at risk to have access to abortion. It is already seen all over the media how mothers have been denied access to safe abortion even when there is proof of the mother’s life being in danger in fear of facing jail time. The legal consequence of going against the abortion ban for the physician is criminal jail time, which has led many physicians to shy away from performing abortion services even when necessary.
Consequences of restrictive abortion laws
The restrictive law on abortion and the ban on abortions could likely lead to more harm than it is trying to protect. Previously, restrictions on abortions have led to unsafe abortions (Undoing of Roe V. Wade Leaves US as Global Outlier on Abortion, 2022). As a result, the number of abortion cases remains constant whether there are restrictions. The only difference is that one method is safer than the other.
These restrictions may also lead to a confrontation of international relations with countries advocating for women’s and reproductive rights. These counter-reforms of abortion rights may lead to the bad publicity that other nations may not want to discuss foreign affairs with the US. These restrictive laws have contributed to an uproar trend of the right to privacy, opening discussions on the first eight amendments. Protests and activists have created controversial discussions regarding these restrictions, which has created division and resistance among people. There are strikes on products from companies that support abortion rights, which also gives bad publicity internationally. Activists believe that the abortion ban is a win-win situation for women who want to be mothers but cannot conceive would adopt the children that would have been aborted. Protestors argue that the foster care systems are already filled with children that have not yet found homes, and the problem would escalate with an abortion ban.
Additionally, these restrictions on abortion rights will contribute to increased cases on the mental health of mothers and their children. Mothers who are not financially and mentally stable to raise children will become worse once they begin raising children. They will instill the same in the children because they lack enough resources to ensure all the child’s needs are met. There are also inadequate programs for assistance that the mothers could go to, and they may require payment. Acquiring medical aid is expensive, and insurance does not cover total costs. It only creates a vicious cycle of generations living in poverty and insecurity. Restrictions on abortion rights mean that access to medical abortion is prohibited, but abortion will continue being accessed through back doors.
By now, several states have banned abortion. As a result, many women and their doctors are no longer able to get the health care services they were previously able to get. While this ban has been in place for some time, controversies and protests arise each time a new issue arises. The ban on abortion rights is a speculation of the invasion of privacy, which is unconstitutional. Another problem is the lack of enough information on abortion rights has led to unfair treatment and discrimination against citizens. Bills of rights safeguard the interest and privacy of the people, but with the overturning of the Roe v. Wade law, the safety of women’s reproductive rights has been compromised. The ninth amendment also serves to protect the people from the government. The discussions around abortions will continue for a while because while some states have already banned abortion, others are adamant about protecting reproductive rights.
Center for Reproductive Rights. (2022). Abortion Laws by State.
Housman, P. (2022). Roe v Wade overturned: What it means, what’s next. American University.
Undoing of Roe v. Wade Leaves US as Global Outlier on Abortion. (2022). Guttmacher Institute.