What You Need to Know About Roe v. Wade
In 1970, Jane Roe filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, to challenge a Texas law that banned abortion unless it was a life saving measure used by doctors. This case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court passed a landmark decision in the case known as Roe v. Wade. Justice Harry Blackmun delivered the opinion for the 7-2 majority vote, and it was decided that a woman's right to an abortion was protected under the 14th amendment, and that states could only pass laws to regulated abortions received during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Under President Donald Trump, senators worked hard to ensure that various republican and notably anti-abortion people were appointed to judicial vacancies. Between 2016 and 2020, three new Supreme Court justices were appointed, who were known to be hostile to reproductive rights. Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, it had been leaked that the Supreme Court had intentions to do so. On Friday, June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was filed to contest a law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in Mississippi. Thirteen states in the USA had trigger ban abortion laws in place that would take effect almost immediately if Roe was ever overturned, which included fining and/or charging (with a felony) people seeking an abortion in the state the ban was passed.
Prior to Roe. v Wade being overturned, there were still barriers to abortion access in the United States, such as socioeconomic status, health insurance, and income. Now that states have begun passing laws banning abortions, the procedure has become even more out of reach for some women. Some people can travel to a different state to get an abortion. However, this isn't an option for everyone, as states such as Iowa, have begun criminalizing people who help minors leave the state to get this procedure.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade has taken the choice away from many women who want to have abortions, jeopardizing Reproductive Health and Justice in the United States. Having an unwanted child can have negative effects, as explained by research from the turnaway study, a study investigating how unwanted pregnancy can affect women’s lives physically, mentally, and socioeconomically. After following about 1000 self identified women who either received or were denied an abortion, it was found that women who were denied an abortion experienced economic hardship and insecurity that lasted for years and were also more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner. Today one in three women live in states where abortion is not accessible.
Edited by: Deven Gupta
Graphic Designed by: Olivia Fu