The Over-Turn of Roe v. Wade is a Bad Decision For Liberals and Conservative Americans. Here’s why.

25 Jun

If you haven’t heard by now, on this day June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion, has been overturned by the Supreme Court in the UNITED States Of America (Or should we say the Divided States Of America). This over-turn means that abortion rights are no longer federally protected as a constitutional right for women and other child-bearing people.

The USA has always had two different political divisions driving the debate: Conservatives and Right-Wing Republicans and Liberal and Left-Wing Democrats. The Conservatives in the USA want to preserve the old ways of doing things, upholding honored traditions, and most of their beliefs are motivated by religion, the need to maintain comfort and security, and familial or generational teachings. Most Right-Wing Republicans tend to support Conservatives, as they might have other old-fashioned political ideologies that they believe would be best supported through Conservatives. For many Conservatives, this over-turn is a victory because they believe that this will ensure protections for, what they see, as “un-born babies”. The Liberals in the USA want society to progress socially, they want to challenge the established system, and most of their beliefs are motivated by negative personal experiences. Most Left-Wing Democrats tend to support Liberals, as they may have other progressive ideologies that they believe would be best supported through Liberals. For Liberals, the over-turn is seen as the end of people’s choices over their own bodies.

To be clear, the over-turn does not necessarily ban abortion outright. The USA is made up (currently) of 50 states (or countries, local government) in one big country (USA, federal government). What the ban does is give legislative power back to the individual 50 states, where each state has the opportunity to choose which laws or regulations they will have regarding abortion rights, without the intervention of the federal government. However, at least eleven (11) states have already banned abortion or limited access to abortion, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. The state of Texas has a “trigger law” that will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization 30 days after this over-turn. Many other states are set to also ban abortion entirely or restrict them severely.

“State laws banning or severely restricting abortion access fell into three broad categories: 1) “trigger bans,” which ban abortion under most circumstances and go into effect with the fall of Roe; 2) pre-Roe bans, which are old laws still on the books that could now be enforced; and 3) more recently passed laws that limit abortion to an early gestational age or ban it nearly totally. Some states had passed laws in more than one of these categories.” -Npr’s Sarah McCammon

The argument that many Conservatives and Republicans often make regarding why this decision is important usually involves their own personal ethics and morals. Does an un-born baby have the right to live, even when it is inside the body of a woman as a fetus like all of the other cells? For many Conservatives and Republicans, the answer is yes, and with this idea comes the belief that abortion is another form of murder. They also make the argument that we have a variety of contraceptive methods, which is supposed to mean that, for many people, there should be no need for abortion. They even believe that banning or restricting abortion will slow unprotected sex, slow teen pregnancy rates (even though they are lower than ever before), and encourage responsible parenthood.

As for the Liberal take on abortion, it’s a matter of protecting freedom in a country founded on that promise. Does a woman have the right to choose what happens to her body during pregnancy? For many Democrats and Liberals, the answer is yes, and many of them believe that restricting abortion rights is the end of liberty. Many Liberals and Democrats believe that abortion rights give people the choice over their lives. Many Liberals also argue that it is because of more access to abortion healthcare that teen pregnancies have decreased. Many also believe that abortion rights save many victims of sexual assault or rape from a lifetime of mental and physical trauma from carrying the child of their assaulters. And it seems like the government is more focused on punishing pregnant girls and women, who could be potential victims of assault, instead of focusing on creating harsher sentences for those who have sexually abused women and girls.

I believe that when making the argument regarding ethics, this issue will always be divided because we can only question who is more important: the un-born child or the living women and girls who will be forced to carry them?

Adding to the polarizing debate surrounding morals and ethics, I want to also address this from a practical point-of-view.

What Will This Mean For Miscarriages?

Many Republican legislators and Conservatives may not be privy to the fact that miscarriages are a lot more common among women than abortions. A Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of an embryo or fetus during pregnancy. This can happen before 20 weeks of pregnancy, with 8 out of 10 happening within 3 months of pregnancy. Miscarriages can happen at any moment and for a variety of reasons.

Doctors providing abortion care use skills and drugs similar to those used to treat miscarriages and stillbirths. If these practices are “banned” in certain states, what will that mean for women who suffer from a fatal miscarriage? Many medical residents who sign up for abortion training often learn techniques that are useful for clearing the lining after miscarriages. Almost 10%-20% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and this only covers the statistics for known pregnancies. Miscarriages are estimated to be as high as 31% to 50% for people who experienced one before knowing they were pregnant.

Another thing to consider is this: Will people who experience a miscarriage be subjected to criminal charges? In Oklahoma, a woman by the name of Brittany Poolaw was convicted of manslaughter charges and was sentenced to four years in prison because she had a miscarriage. With the end of Roe v. Wade, and some national bans on abortion starting to take effect in some states, will this mean that every woman that experiences a miscarriage could be also be accused and tried by a criminal court or at least suspected of murder? It would be nice if more Republican legislators were more thoughtful about these circumstances because, as the ban sweeps the nation, even the most Republican-friendly, Conservative women may experience this outcome while pregnant.

What About Young Victims Of Forced Pregnancy?

Many Conservatives and Republicans have argued that pregnancy happens mostly as a result of “irresponsibility”. In states like Missouri, they ignore or overlook the effects of rape or sexual assault, and don’t believe it gives any woman or girl reason for abortion, stating “It’s still a baby’s life”. They also argue that forced pregnancy is an outlier. The idea here is that a “woman” must carry the baby full term, no matter what her physical situation, medical conditions, mental conditions, financial situation, or age.

Speaking of age, a girl can conceive when she begins menstruation. Girls can start their menarche as early as 8, 9, and 10 years old. Can you imagine a world where eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, or 10-year-olds would be forced to give birth because of forced intercourse by a stranger or a relative? In America, 14.8% of women have experienced rape. This means out of 168,000,000 women in the USA, 24,864,000 of them have experienced rape or sexual assault and 11.1% (18,480,000) of them were under the age of 12. This only includes reported cases, as many children who are victims are not often able to speak up against their abusers nor understand the abuse they have experienced. Children who become pregnant under the age of 17 would be considered “high risk” medically, both for the young girl giving birth and the un-born baby they would be forced to carry. For many of these young girls, having to carry the baby of an abuser can be one of the most traumatic life experiences. These young girls would also have to face a judgmental public that shames them because pregnancy does show, especially on a child. The future children of the victim could grow up knowing or learning that they came to be because their mother was assaulted, which would lead to trauma for the off-spring as well. The abuser’s baby may be born, but the livelihood and mental state of a girl who was forced to endure such a torture through pregnancy at her age stays with her for the rest of her life. To the abuser, the baby is their prize.

Even young girls and teenagers who are not victims of sexual assault or rape might make uninformed mistakes throughout their lifetime. However, should we punish a child or teenager with the trauma of pregnancy for the rest of their life? While teen pregnancies have decreased throughout the last few decades, the U.S. still has the highest rates compared to other developed countries, and that may only increase after the over-turn of Roe v. Wade.

Here is the question: Which life is more important to you? The lives of un-born babies? Or the lives of little girls and living victims of assault?

The Damaging Effects Of Pregnancy

Everyone seems to be aware of the symptoms that come while a girl or a woman is giving birth. However, there are physical ailments that exist the full NINE months of pregnancy, too. Not only does pregnancy cause a variety of sicknesses, such as hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness that can affect the health of both mother and baby), but it can greatly alter a woman and girl’s body inside and out. For some women, pregnancy can be fatal. About 700 women a year die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. For women after the age of 35 who experience pregnancy, they have a higher risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and there has been a rising number of heart attacks experienced during childbirth. Women over 35 years of age with other uterine issues are also at higher risk for Ectopic pregnancies (when an egg gets stuck outside the uterus and begins to grow, potentially damaging organs and creating loss of blood). It has been one of the major causes of pregnancy-related deaths (10% have experienced this).

Would surgeries that help women with varying uterine issues also be held under suspicion?

Some conservatives believe that these situations are a lot more rare in a modern society. However, the end of Roe v Wade could mean an increase of these conditions as abortion rights often gave women the choice to avoid these issues. People might argue that sexual abuse and medical issues are “rare circumstances” that shouldn’t influence our sentiments, but shouldn’t our laws cover even the rarest of circumstances, all of the “nooks and crannies”, so that conversations like this don’t ever have to come up again? After all, turning, over-turning, and turning legislation back and forth leads to confusion, makes enforcing laws challenging, and weakens citizens’ faith in the established laws. That just leads to anarchy.

When having conversations regarding birth and the health of a patient, mental health is often overlooked. However, mental health risks are just as important when examining the outcome of both the parent and children born. Postpartum depression is also a very difficult situation to endure, especially for young mothers. Those who develop postpartum depression are at greater risk of developing major depression later on in life. In the last decade, risks of suicide among pregnant mothers have only increased. Aside from postpartum depression, there are many women with a variety of behavioral or mental disorders (such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, Schizophrenia, etc), and unintended pregnancies would only worsen some of their conditions. Shouldn’t a woman who is mentally ill have a choice? Mental disorders often do affect the way a baby is cared for inside the body of a woman.

In states that do not allow for exceptions, a person that has terminal medical issues such as Cancer or HIV/AIDS would have to carry their children full-term. They would have severe issues with delivery and the child would have a higher likelihood of being born with the same medical issues as their parents. Parents with physical disabilities or impairment may also find themselves having the same issues with delivery.

Did I mention that Covid-19, a contagious respiratory disease that first swept the nation a little more than a year ago, still exists? Pregnancy increases the chances of catching severe illnesses, like Covid-19, and the symptoms that come from harsh diseases like that can have long-term effects on a baby as well, according to the CDC.

Unintended pregnancies can also affect the livelihood of children that are born into such situations. Unhealthy attitudes and behaviors can develop during unintended parenthood, and these behaviors can affect a child’s development. An unintended pregnancy is a risk factor for poor maternal mental health, causing an increase in depression and stress. Children born from an unintended pregnancy showed a cognitive delay at 3-years-old, more behavioral problems from 5-7-years-old, and increased substance use in their teen years when compared to their peers. Unintended pregnancies also increased the risk of abuse towards children and pregnant women. Abortion rights give parents the right to choose when to have children. You might believe that banning or restricting abortion rights is protecting children, but by hurting the parent’s right to choose, you are actually hurting the children, who would be born into such risky situations, even more.

What about contraceptives? Even the birth control pills and shots have some serious side effects that can include heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, and tumors just to name a few. Even when taking these types of contraceptives, pregnancy can still occur no matter how regularly or correctly you might take these contraceptives. This is also the same case for condoms, in which breakages are very common.

Some may argue that perhaps hysterectomies or tubal ligation are options for women. However, these invasive surgeries are much more costly and, in most cases, they would be irreversible where a woman would never be able to make the choice to have a child.

Instead, what we may see is an increase in riskier means of getting abortions, which would be synonymous to what had often occurred before Roe v. Wade. What, you thought abortions were new?

What About The Financial Risks Of Pregnancy?

Much of the stress that occurs as a result of unintended pregnancies often involves socioeconomic factors. After all, in order to adequately take care of a child, financial stability is necessary. In which case, only parents that have adequately planned and prepared for childhood can provide the best circumstances for the child. Over 75% of abortions occurred due to financial reasons. Usually those or impoverished or low-income individuals. Sure, anyone can argue that no one should be having children without preparation anyway, but the bottom-line is people do. Life can change in the snap of a finger, even for people who think they are well-prepared for a child, such as losing a spouse or losing one’s job. And with more schools even banning sex education, more people will have less knowledge about sex and pregnancies, leading to many accidental ones. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, this could increase the risk of homeless, neglected, and abandoned children in impoverished areas as generational poverty and socioeconomic issues are linked to these circumstances. Sure, Conservatives might say the “irresponsible parents” deserved it, but are you also saying the innocent child that was forced to full-term deserved it, too?

Keeping personal financial situations in mind, what about the national economic state of things to date? What about the current inflation crisis? There couldn’t have been a worse time to over-turn federally protected abortion rights with the rising cost of living and a shortage in supplies, including baby supplies. Hey, they could have at least waited until the economy was more stabilized to enact such a drastic change in legislation. Instead, they had no consideration for the number of people who may be pregnant, but are no longer able to provide for babies due to America’s post-pandemic economic turmoil.

While some states are allowing for abortions, the cost to travel or move to these states may not make this a viable option for low-income people. Many businesses still do not have adequate maternity leave policies in place, either, so the ban in many states will mean that many people will risk being laid-off or terminated from employment in order to carry a baby full-term or travel for abortions. Many clinics are closing, which makes travel decisions unpredictable. Speaking of which, many employees of abortion clinics may potentially be unemployed themselves, as many locations are set to close in the coming months. This will only add to an unemployment rate in the U.S.A that hasn’t had much of a turn-around since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of course, many might believe that because “adoption” is available, there is an easy way out. However, we have to consider the cost of carrying and delivering a child, which includes medical bills that many without adequate healthcare coverage would not be able to handle. Even with adequate healthcare coverage, it can be pretty expensive. After all, this country is one of the few developed nations without universal healthcare. Perhaps, it would have been more beneficial to provide a better healthcare system before throwing out abortion rights and subsequently leaving people to fend for themselves regarding pregnancy.

People also forget that bringing a baby into the world would require the mother to be able to afford to feed, clothe, and house herself properly while carrying a child. Healthcare insurance doesn’t cover that. Many of the same people voting against abortion are also the same people who want to avoid pouring tax money into programs for mothers who can’t take care of themselves while pregnant. The situation is often made worse within families that already have four or more children. Adding another baby to enlarged families could affect the resources available for the other children, and it could also affect their mental and emotional health.

And what about the issues surrounding the foster care system? According to USA adoption statistics, placing and monitoring children brings the state and federal expenditures at $9 billion. Many children never get adopted and remain in the adoption system for many years. As many as 117,000 children are still waiting to be adopted with many of them being disproportionately African-American. The adoption process is no easy task with many children being misplaced from home to home in order to find perfect families for them. This is costly on the country. To add, 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues which the state also pays for in the millions. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, funding could become more necessary, making childcare more expensive to the point the USA, as a nation, would have to pay more for it through taxes.

There is also population growth to consider. America is one of the most populated countries in the world. Over-population often causes a shortage in resources and other environmental issues. Abortion access has been helpful in regulating population growth, but, with the ban in some states, this could mean that our population may see a significant increase that we are not prepared to handle financially.

What about child support? About 50.2% of people have child support arrangements, mostly affecting men. In 2015, the most recent data on child support, showed that at least $33.7 billion were reported to be due. The amount of people owing child support would more than likely increase, with debt affecting low-income individuals even more.

Socioeconomic disparities often leads to a high rise in crime. Where abortion would give women and men an opportunity to live their lives and build wealth so that they CAN prepare properly for a baby, instead the over-turn will cause women and men in impoverished circumstances to have no way out.

What If “Legislative Loopholes” Affect Other Rights?

Roe v. Wade was possible as a constitutional right through the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment is as follows: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Many Conservatives and Republicans have argued that this Amendment protects unborn babies, despite the fact that this amendment only mentions that persons who are born have the right to life, liberty, or property. By taking away abortion rights, several states are now taking away a born woman’s right to life and liberty. The U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of liberty under the Due Process Clause grants the right over bodily autonomy. This is especially so in states where there are no exceptions for medical issues or abuse. In the Fourth Amendment of the constitution, it states The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states.

In this sense, it is unconstitutional to ban abortion, but because it doesn’t “specifically” say abortion, the GOP has decided that it has found a “loophole” in order to restrict the right to life and liberty, restricting people’s choices, over their own bodies medically. Despite the argument that abortion is “murder”, arguably abortion is a form of self-defense; Even for the healthiest individuals, pregnancy is always a risky situation and procedure. Abortion provides protection from unintended invaders within the body that could cause medical issues for the host. Yet, by taking away abortion rights we have denied many people “equal protection” under the law.

Of course, when it comes to our constitution many of the things written can only be interpreted through a modern lens. After all, the writings are based on hundreds of years of legislation. Abortion, as a practice, was not properly understood by the men who wrote it. In fact, many parts of our constitution are not as clearly outlined as many would think.

For example, the Second Amendment is supposed to give all citizens “the right to bear arms”. Many Conservatives often turn to this Amendment when thinking about the protection of gun rights. However, “arms” can mean ANY weapon, which means the 2nd amendment doesn’t have to include the protections of weapons that are deemed especially more dangerous, such as guns or bombs. What if legislators took advantage of this “loophole” to take away your right to carry a gun? What if they decided to over-turn District of Columbia v. Heller because the 2nd Amendment does not specify that guns specifically can be used? How far will we go to restrict the freedom or liberty to protect ourselves, using “loopholes” as a means of doing so? Even the First Amendment that is supposed to give us the freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly, and petition is a little too vague, and many “loopholes” have been found in order to suppress even some of our First Amendment rights. Do we want to live in a country where anything we say or do could land us in jail?

The greatest question many have is whether or not states with abortion bans throughout the country can be well-regulated. The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated“. Of course, this amendment can also be reinterpreted for the sake of criminalizing abortion. Would we have policemen acting as a gestapo or will we ensure that every woman who even LOOKS pregnant be monitored by an FBI taskforce in these states? Will we expect neighbors to turn on neighbors, or families to turn on families, if they even suspect that a miscarriage is actually an abortion? Will we have an influx of women and their families fleeing to already overcrowded states or even fleeing across the border to other countries where there is more freedom?

Before you believe that these things will never happen, remember that these “loopholes” have been used throughout history to excuse slavery and Jim Crow Laws, to restrict voting rights of people who didn’t own property and who were just women and people of color by nature, and allowed laws to prohibit same-sex marriage (or even same-sex relationships for that matter). We also cannot forget that the last time something was banned (the prohibition of alcohol), it it became very costly for the country, difficult to regulate, and was repealed as an Amendment. Even the national campaign of a “war on drugs”, launched by U.S. President Nixon in the early 1970s, has been proven to be futile in halting the illegal drug trade and has led to more incarcerations than ones based on rape or murder due to police focusing on drugs rather than other more severe criminal investigations. One can only predict that the same will be true of abortions, just based on history. As George Santayana’s published book The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress states: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The U.S.A. is unfortunately the only developed country that has outright bans of abortion in place. Our abortion rights resemble that of the developing nation Mexico, the restrictive country of Russia, North Korea, as well as Iran, and to some degree matches that of less developed nations. This says a lot about the current GOP’s perception of freedom and what is left to become of what used to be the United States Of America. Even China, the country Americans use as an example of countries with “no rights”, has NO restrictions on abortion whatsoever. At this point in history, America is only pretending to be the land of the free, when other developed nations such as The Netherlands, Canada, Iceland, The United Kingdom, France, Finland, Australia, Kosovo, Israel, and many more have the freedom and right to abortion with very little restrictions or lack of access. A country where there are no rights is not the America I would like to see. Even if we should emulate the countries with tougher abortion restrictions, as mentioned before, we do not have universal healthcare offered to pregnant women as would be found in many other countries.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan put it in perspective: “Young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” 

In Conclusion

Before our government made the choice to end federal protections surrounding people’s right to abortion, the government should have focused on providing harsher sentences to proven sex offenders, better healthcare in the nation (especially for women who are pregnant and children), better food and housing options for homeless women and children, and mental healthcare initiatives: things that can lead to the drastic decision to abort. Abortion is not an easy decision to make for any pregnant person. If, as a country, we could focus on making life better for women and children, then abortion would not even be necessary. Otherwise, as it stands, the decision to over-turn Roe v. Wade is like putting a band-aid on a greater wound. If you are “pro-life”, ask yourself: “Do I care more about the quantity of life or the quality of life?”

On a positive note, abortion rates have actually decreased over the years due to more sex education, better birth control methods, and women having more choices regarding careers as well. So with or without the ban, it won’t be as felt for women who are privileged enough to have the decision to choose. Who it will most affect are the innocent and vulnerable, such as children and women of abuse.

Women and people who are biologically capable of giving birth never chose to be born that way. The least we could do is give them the right to protect their bodies from harm and live their life the way they choose while they are here. It’s one thing to regulate abortion in a way that balances the life of an unborn baby with the life of the woman or girls of America. It’s an entirely different thing to enact a ban on something that cannot always be biologically controlled, regardless of health risk or circumstance. Can the government honestly control or regulate the functions of a body that is not their own, even from a practical point of view? Unlike the call to control drugs, guns, and alcohol, where the call for bans are involving or once involved external objects that can be regulated, this ban involves the natural human body and it puts many people at risk for being tried or jailed even for things they cannot control: the outcome of a fetus inside the womb of a pregnant person. Whether through medical abortion or natural causes, this kind of legislation will only cause more trouble than it’s worth.

Do you think the over-turn of Roe v. Wade was a bad decision from the GOP? Do you believe that it will have adverse effects on women across political lines? Or do you believe abortion is unconstitutional and that states have a right to ban abortion? Let me know in the comments’ section what you all think.

-Guest Blogger, VenusLove


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