The Threat to Roe v. Wade

Pro-choice and pro-life demonstrators hold rallies at the Supreme Court on the day it hears arguments on the Texas abortion ban. In United States of America v. Texas, the Department of Justice will argue that the Texas law banning abortions after 6 weeks is unconstitutional. (Photo by Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via AP)

On January 22, 1973 abortion was uniformally legalized in the United States through the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Abortion had already been legal in many states but because of this case, it was made official that all states must now allow people to receive abortions. It was deemed unconstitutional for women’s rights and privacy to be compromised, which inevitably led to a considerable amount of controversy in both the short and long term. Today, almost 50 years later, the topic still triggers a great deal of disagreement. More recent threats to the rights secured by Roe v. Wade are causing many to worry about what the future may hold for women’s reproductive freedom. 

In Mississippi, officials are attempting to declare abortion illegal after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. As expected, this caused a massive uproar among many residents of the state. Protests were organized throughout Mississippi, and the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was naturally taken to the Supreme Court. Currently the case is pending, and the outcome could impact the established right to abortion that the United States abides by today.

Former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg believed that women should have the right to make reproductive decisions for themselves, and that the objections to the topic of abortion were rooted in sexism. Ginsburg described her feelings to Senators during her four days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearings, “It is essential to women’s equality with man that she be the decision maker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.” Ginsburg’s opinion, however, is controversial.

One of the people who rejected Ginsburg’s view was the well known Mother Teresa, who describes her feelings as follows, “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men.” It is clear that the differences in these opinions have caused great division.

The consitutional inability of a pregnant woman to have an abortion would raise a whole set of issues. First, if the loss of abortion rights is sustained in the Supreme Court, there will be a cascade of protests. This will surely lead to a large amount of conflict and debate, plunging the U.S. into a state of social chaos. 

Furthermore, with the banning of abortions, it is inevitable that numerous unsafe self-abortions will take place in an illicit, unregulated market. If this happens, many pregnant women seeking to abort will be in serious danger. The severe health risks that could follow something as drastic as a self-abortion are immeasurable. People should take into account the consequences of self-inflicted and unregulated abortions when they consider the impact of abolishing a constitutional right to abortion.

From the alternate standpoint, it is evident that many people believe that the pros outweigh the cons of ending uniform abortion laws. Some believe that aborting a future child is completely unethical and immoral, and should not be allowed. There are differing opinions as to at what point in a pregnancy an abortion should be allowed. Many think that it should not be allowed after fifteen weeks of pregnancy, and some believe that there should be no abortions altogether. Either way, this side of the debate all comes down to morals, and how a person perceives the status of a fetus or embryo.

In the end, it is clear that there are multiple differing views on abortion and the Roe v. Wade decision, but unless and until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, the right to abortion will remain legally protected. Whether one is pro choice, pro life, or simply indifferent, all can likely agree that the Supreme Court’s decision on the fate of Roe v. Wade will have a lasting impact in the years ahead.