On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court overruled the landmark case “Roe v. Wade,” a 50 year precedent that protected a woman’s right to make an intimate and personal choice that is essential to one’s personal autonomy and dignity.
In the initial draft that was leaked on May 2, prior to the actual decision that was delivered on June 24, Justice Samuel Alito contended that “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by a constitutional provision.” In the Constitution’s original form, which was crafted by fifty five white men in 1787, women were not on the forefront of consideration when the famed phrase of “We the People,” was formed. There is nothing in that document that mentions women at all, let alone fundamental law provisions about pregnancy, fetuses, uteruses, vaginas, menstrual cycles, or breasts.
(Photo: Los Angeles Times)
During a time where laws were being forged, discussed, and litigated-that would soon be the foundation of our democracy- women were not among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, there were no women judges, lawyers, or legislators; their voices were non existent in the political arena, and rights that they did or didn’t have were of no concern to the men that were making the laws.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade was determined based on the mode of reasoning known as the “history test”- wherein Justice Alito held that if a right isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, it can only become a right if it can be shown to be “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.” Wouldn’t this be disadvantageous to those who were not enfranchised at the time the Constitution was written? During a time where Black people were considered to be three-fifths of a person if they weren’t already free.
As of Friday, June 24, this country has tumbled back in time. A time where the opinions of men have superseded the rights, privacy and protections that have been afforded to women for over half a century. This ruling has opened the floodgates for total eradication of a woman’s right to choose, welcoming challenges to cases that rely on the due process right to privacy, including Griswold v. Connecticut- the 1965 Supreme Court case that established that married couples have a right to purchase and use contraception. (Texastribune.org)
Since the overturning of Roe, in accordance with an article published by CNN 13 states have passed “trigger laws,” which are bans that were designed to go into effect as soon as Roe was overturned.
These are the states where “trigger laws,” have gone in effect:
Have we been catapulted back to the early 20th century- the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s- where women had to ask for their husband’s permission to get a tubal ligation? Completely ignoring what the woman wants? Autonomy over her body.
It’s deeply disappointing to live in a country that has posed itself as the standard of all things free, fair, and just when we have witnessed the complete opposite of those proclamations.
The disheartening truth is that this is where we are now. A woman’s decision about her pregnancy is in the hands of the states; abortion is no longer federally protected.
As I said on a post on Instagram:
America is no longer the land of the free.
America is no longer the beacon on the hill.
America has now become the abyss of hopelessness and affliction.
We must use our power of the vote.
We must not let apathy set in during times of despair.
We must flee to the ballot boxes.