In 1973, which was merely 49 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision, called Roe v. Wade, that the Constitution protects a woman’s choice of abortion without excessive restrictions. Abortion was considered, therefore, legal. Sadly, now it is not anymore.
Vice-president Kamala Harris, in an interview with a male judge of the Supreme Court, posed the following question: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?” He didn’t know how to reply. This simple question should already show how much gender inequality persists in our society. We would think that many steps forward have been made in the context of women’s rights; however, lately, instead of stepping forward, it seems history is taking us back.
On May 2, 2022, a draft of the new decisions about Roe v. Wade leaked from the Supreme Court, implying that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” It seems that the Supreme Court has changed its position on abortion laws, and this could lead to stricter rules, if not the abolition of the right to abortion. What the Supreme Court is doing is taking people’s voices away. The people want the right to abortion, yet their leaders are prohibiting them from making their own choice.
For some historical context, Jane Roe, the alias of the unmarried pregnant woman who started the suit against abortion laws in Texas, fought the U.S. Supreme Court and demanded them more specific rules on abortion back in 1973. The Supreme Court then decided that abortion would fall under a person’s right to privacy and, therefore, is a woman’s right. This was a very important step in women’s rights history, and it is truly unfair to see so many years of fighting efforts be overturned.
The Power To Choose
It can be noticed how inequalities between males and females are present in other smaller contexts: Many high schools in the U.S. require their students to follow a dress code, which can potentially make sense. I can understand that maybe going to school in a swimsuit would not be the most appropriate attire. However, the rules are very different between boys and girls: A young girl can not go to school showing her shoulders, while a young boy is allowed to. Now, I really wonder what kind of danger those girls’ shoulders could provoke.
If we already find it normal and acceptable for schools to differentiate rules regarding the body of boys and girls, why do we think that the government has no right to do so? As Kamala Harris brought to our attention, there are no laws controlling the male body, but it seems okay to have laws controlling women’s bodies. The government is supposedly expected to make the most suitable decisions in favor of the public, like how we trust educators to act in the students’ best interests. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
The Lie Behind The Freedom To Choose
The definition of abortion, as stated by the Oxford dictionary, reads: “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.” The keyword here is ‘deliberate,’ which implies a sense of personal choice. Abortion should be a choice. It shouldn’t matter whether you support it or not; you can decide for yourself not to go through an abortion if you get unexpectedly pregnant. But this does not mean that you can take away the voices of those who do not share the same opinion as yours. America is always talking about how much of a free country it is. People move to the U.S. to have better opportunities, to create companies from scratch, to express their opinions to the world. The American Dream that makes us all believe that everything is possible, positive change is possible, is apparently just a lie.
The Possibility To Choose
Choices. They are what life is simply all about. Every day we wake up and make one choice after another while going about our day. Although some choices have more impact than others and greater consequences, we all want to make our own choices. Because this is what freedom is: the liberty to make choices and live with the consequences. The law should support safe abortion, but not only that, it should support the choice to abort. The possibility of choice is completely different from an opinion. I can be against abortion and still accept the people that are pro-abortion. It’s about being pro-choice and letting everyone decide what they believe is best for them. Because how can a privileged, white male politician know how it feels not to have the money to afford contraceptives? How can he know the feeling of finding yourself alone, carrying a baby, and knowing you have no resources to raise that baby? How can he know the feeling of carrying a baby conceived by rape? The possible situations are endless, and they should all be given the right to choose.
The possibility of choice is completely different from an opinion. I can be against abortion and still accept the people that are pro-abortion. It’s about being pro-choice and letting everyone decide what they believe is best for them.
No Choice Or No Safe Choice?
Protests are breaking out all around the United States, showing how people desperately want the possibility to choose for themselves. Some of the most common signs read: “You are not taking away abortion, but only safe abortion.” This is another very important point because the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to make abortion illegal can be catastrophic. If women want, they will find a way to abort their unwanted pregnancies. Desperation really can bring someone to desperate solutions. Which is not safe. Not everyone is a doctor, and not everyone has the knowledge to assess whether an abortion procedure is truly safe or not. It’s a woman’s body we’re talking about, a person who willingly puts herself in danger because the government is not giving her the possibility to make a safe choice. There ought to be professionals and safe spaces where women can go to get an abortion. They shouldn’t have to rely on illegal clinics that lack safety and hygienic measures. Instead of helping and protecting the people, the leaders of the U.S. are putting their lives on the line.
Because how can a privileged, white male politician know how it feels not to have the money to afford contraceptives? How can he know the feeling of finding yourself alone, carrying a baby, and knowing you have no resources to raise that baby? How can he know the feeling of carrying a baby conceived by rape?
The Choice To Change
Things need to change. Possibly on a radical level. If the leaders in power today neither represent people’s ideas nor protect their people, maybe it’s time to have different leaders. People who support the right to choose. As Kamala Harris said in an interview: “The people’s priority should be to elect more pro-choice leaders at the local, the state, and the federal level.” If change is going to happen, people need to take a stance, make their move, and vote for people that will support their ideas and give the country possibilities to grow.
Cover: Gayatri Malhotra
Edited by: Quynh (Stephanie) Bui