- Olivia Morrison
Abortion For All
Liberty and justice are no longer guaranteed rights for all. Abortion rights have been a long-standing topic of debate in the United States, and on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court decided to strip women of their previously guaranteed right to bodily autonomy by overturning Roe v. Wade.
This monumental Supreme Court decision allows each state to choose to either ban abortion or protect its legitimacy. Since the overturn, abortion still holds legal status in 16 states, but states like Missouri have already made it illegal. “Trigger laws” strategically implemented before the Supreme Court ruling in the states of Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming will make abortion illegal after 30 days following the overturning of Roe v Wade. In cases where providers or receivers are suspected of involvement with unlawful abortion, tech companies are now faced with the responsibility of tracking information involving the process of acquiring an unlawful abortion.
Companies that collect data can provide the court with evidence such as text messages, search history, and location history. People who attempt, seek, or receive an abortion are punishable by felony charges and fines up to $100,000.
It is becoming increasingly expensive to live in the United States, and in 2020 more than 37.2 million people residing in the U.S. live in poverty. This decision immediately impacts economically disadvantaged communities. Uterus-owners who cannot afford the hospital bill for birthing a child, much less life after birth, are now facing felonies and fines for trying to escape a life sentence. For many, the physical and economic demands that must be met after giving birth cannot be met, but the Supreme Court decision now stands in the way of their escape.
Banning access to safe and legal abortions will force women to carry to term regardless of circumstances like rape, or if they are physically unable to without it resulting in death. Maternal mortality rates in disadvantaged communities will rise as the number of women seeking unsafe “back-alley” abortions climbs. Individuals who do not have the resources to circumvent restrictions placed upon them by the state will turn to desperate and unsafe attempts to terminate the pregnancy. The “coat-hanger” imagery used to convey this message alludes to the dark future and the real, horrifying past of unsafe abortion methods. If uterus-owners no longer have the fundamental legal right to receive medical aid or practice self-managed and safe abortion methods, which have existed (and still do) in Indigenous cultures, they will be forced to choose between a number of unsafe options.
Women of color in the United States are more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than white women due to the fact that women of color have historically had restricted bodily autonomy and are less likely to receive pregnancy prevention education, contraception, or reproductive services than those with more privilege, like wealthy white women. The oppression of women, especially women of color, is one of the foundations upon which the social hierarchy of the United States was built, and removing their right to access reproductive healthcare will cement it. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito, stated that “generations of women have relied on the right to abortion to gain economic and political power”, essentially admitting outright that the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade is an institutional tactic of oppression.
- Olivia Morrison, CULTURE Society Incorporated