The Roe v Wade case gave the women of The United States of America the right to have an abortion from the year 1975. It was brought by Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) who wanted an abortion. But since it was illegal in the US, she approached the court. Her attorneys filed a lawsuit on her behalf in the U.S. federal court against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, accusing that Texas's abortion laws were unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court of Texas heard the case and ruled in her favour. The parties appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. The Supreme Court declared the right to abortion as a "fundamental Right", given to all pregnant women in the United States. Legalising abortion significantly reduced maternal mortality. The reliance on the right to abortion has enabled generations of women to pursue personal, educational, and employment opportunities and life goals and helped to counter the long history of discrimination that has limited women’s legal, social, and economic progress.
But on June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. People rioted not just in America, but across the world. Abortion rights, which have been available to women for over two generations, now won’t be available. A recent study predicts a significant rise in the maternal mortality rate since the ban on abortion. Research demonstrated that denying these women an abortion creates economic hardship, increased debt, bankruptcies, and insecurity that lasts for years. Women who were turned away from getting an abortion were also more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner. The financial well-being and development of the subsequent children were also negatively impacted. Finally, giving birth was connected to more serious long-term health problems, which have a 14 times higher risk of death than that of abortion. So, in denying a person access to a wanted abortion, states are forcing people to assume significant medical risks against their will.
That’s why hundreds of economists, athletes, gender equality advocates, feminist groups, scholars and organizations representing young women and women lawyers are urging the Supreme Court to reconsider the abortion ban and uphold the right to abortion. Thousands of people across the United States took to the streets, protesting for women’s rights to have an abortion.
Some feminist groups however protested against abortions. The anti-abortion feminists argue that most women do not truly want to have abortions, but are forced into abortions by third parties and partners. They suggest that women have been made to believe they cannot be successful if they experience an unanticipated pregnancy. So while the abortion rights activists were protesting against the ban on abortion, the anti-abortion activists were celebrating the ban on abortions. This scenario of some feminist organisations themselves supporting the ban on abortion and thus denying women the CHOICE of not being pregnant is an example of a hypocritical situation where feminists have failed to stand for what they should.
The debate around abortion should go beyond whether a person’s life is endangered by the pregnancy. At the core of the issue is a person’s right to make decisions about what happens to their body. Governments must not only decriminalize abortion but should create social conditions in which people can make pregnancy-related decisions free of discrimination, stigma, violence, lack of opportunities or punishment.