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Sadie Fox

The controversy that lies with states’ rights regarding abortion is discussed deeply by OHS Magnet writers.

Point/ Counter-point: The impact of states’ rights

November 28, 2022

OHS Magnet have taken the time to reflect on a serious topic which changed the way women feel throughout our society. On June 24, 2022  a decision was made to make it up to the states individually to decide whether or not a woman has the right to choose if she gets an abortion. Roe v. Wade was originally ruled by the supreme court who made abortion a fundamental right. Now after almost 50 years of having this decision in place it was overturned which has separated our society and created an uproar in our states. Currently the State of Minneosta has remained for abortion to be up to the individual woman to decide that choice for herself and Minnesotans have not been significantly changed by this decision. 

Magnet writers have taken the time to express themselves in this opinion article by declaring what has happened because of this decision in our states; stating what has changed in American society. Court cases referenced are linked below. 

2022 is unfamiliar with women’s rights

As the year is almost coming to a close, it is necessary to reflect on events and the opinions on them. On June 24, 2022, a decision was made that affected the voice of many women and anyone with the ability to get pregnant. Roe v. Wade was a case ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1973, making abortion a fundamental right. Almost 50 years later, Roe v. Wade was turned back to the states. States will now decide their own abortion laws without federal constitutional standards. This decision is an act of taking away biological females rights to their own autonomy depending where one lives. 

Safe abortion access is more than just a human right, it is a show of how society views women and how they believe women should be treated. OHS history teacher Mr. Patrick Churchill said, “There are a lot of people who feel like a fundamental right was taken from them, so in that regard people feel like we have taken a step backwards.” The overturning signifies that men have a right to choose while women’s reproductive systems are being controlled. 

Currently, abortion is illegal in 13 states. Abortion is banned in these states with limited exceptions: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Georgia has a six-week ban taking place. This makes abortions nearly inaccessible, considering that 9 in 10 abortions take place during or near the end of the first trimester. Abortion providers in these states will no longer be able to provide care, or will at least have to limit the care options available. 

Under the Minnesota Constitution, abortion has been recognized as a fundamental right by the state’s highest court. According to Minnesota’s data from 2021, one out of 10,018 abortions happened during the third trimester. Which generally infers that the procedure occurred due to birth complications or because the mother was experiencing life threatening risks. In other states where reproductive rights are still prevalent, clinics are working to increase appointment availability for those in need. 

On November 8, 2022, reproductive rights in Minnesota were on the midterm elections ballot. The two candidates, Tim Walz and Scott Jensen, strongly differed in the ways they view abortion rights. Walz was striving for re-election and spent his campaign advertising pro-choice values. On the opposing side, Jensen openly voiced his pro-life values. Despite pro-life Minnesotans being determined to change abortion policies in the state, Walz won his reelection by 192,406 votes. This victory protects women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.

Anyone who is seeking reproductive care deserves the same respect and dignity as any other patient. Junior Alayna Wannarka said, “Women should have the right to make their own decisions if they believe those decisions to be beneficial to their own lives.” Without legal abortion access, people may end up using dangerous tactics to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Data from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists teaches that about 21 million women around the world each year will attempt unsafe and potentially lethal abortions. Of those women, 50,000 will die annually.

The decision going back to the states is more than a women’s rights issue, it is a racial injustice issue. Data recorded by Ushma Upadhyay, a public health social scientist at the University of California San Francisco, communicates that the states working towards banning abortion have higher concentrations of people of color. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to not survive pregnancy. Forcing biological females to have an unwanted pregnancy will result in deadly consequences across the states. Information from the Black Women’s Health Imperative reports that the overturning will lead to a 33% increase in the number of deaths among black persons able to give birth due to pregnancy related issues. Those who support the illegalization of abortion in these states are not looking into the ideas of racial injustice that they are perpetuating. 

Safe abortion access is imperative when considering healthcare. Written by Diana Greene Foster, a reproductive health researcher at the University of California, The Turnaway Study kept up with the lives of 1,000 American women for five years after they attempted to find access to safe abortion. The studies main findings demonstrate how harmful carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term can be.

If the argument is about wanting children to be able to live out their full lives, it would be wise for those who claim this to take a deeper dive into the study and its results. Children birthed after abortion denial are more likely to live below the federal poverty level and have poor maternal bonding with their mothers who were denied an abortion. Banning abortions does not only negatively effect the children born from an unwanted pregnancy. It also takes a detrimental toll on the mother, the factor that is commonly ignored. Those turned away from getting an abortion are more likely to stay with an abusive partner, experience long lasting economic hardship and undergo serious health problems. Dangers like eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, chronic migraines, joint pain and gestational hypertension were all reported to be more likely among those who carried out an unwanted pregnancy. Those who received the abortion they sought after were more financially comfortable, had higher goals for themselves, raised children under safer housing conditions and were more likely to carry out a wanted pregnancy later in life. 

There is no viable explanation for why someone argues for protecting life but doesn’t take into account the mothers life, or what happens to the child after they are born. No lives are being protected by banning abortion. Supporting abortion protects the mother and the child from future issues that come from being denied access. Healthcare will only remain efficient if it is free of political or religious ideals. And now due to the idea of states rights, women in 13 states will have no resources when faced with a life altering situation. Abortion is a personal decision, and personal matters should not be decided by the government. 


2022: For the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

In 1973, The Supreme Court decided to allow all abortions from the moment of fertilization through the third trimester. Over the years, many court cases have risen against the passing of Roe v. Wade asking whether abortion is supported by the Constitution. This question was answered in the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization case on June 24, 2022, when Roe v. Wade was overturned causing an uproar in the states. The judgment sent it back to the states to decide the mortality of each individual from inside the womb. Giving the decision to make choices about abortion to the states made it fundamentally possible for some areas of the United States to outlaw abortion. 

Overturning Roe was not decided overnight. This decision was something that was in the process of many years of other court cases questioning the ruling of Roe v. Wade. For instance, in 1987, third trimester abortions were banned in the state of Texas. A more recent ban on abortions was in Mississippi which limited any abortions after 15 weeks under the House Bill 1510 in 2018. These were the type of bans that slowly lead up to restating of the federal rights behind abortion. Dobbs was the Supreme court case that created a new path in the abortion argument in 2022. This case brought attention to the previous stare decisis of Roe, to be re-evaluated. Dobbs was not the argument that made abortion illegal, Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Orginization was the case that made abortion a priority of the states instead of the Supreme Court. This case was the turning point for the anti-abortion movement. 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade did not stop abortions, but it is proving that abortion was not a fundamental right to begin with. One major pillar comes into play when deciding whether something is right or not it must be protected by the Constitution. For the case to be properly done, there must be a supportive section or amendment that explicitly states that it is protected by the Constitution. In the Roe v. Wade case many claimed that the 14th Amendment; no state can deprive one’s life, liberty, or property without due process, confirmed that abortion was included in the rights of the people. This argued as an incorrect right given to the citizens since the 14th Amendment does not forwardly explain or include abortion. The National Library of Medicine agrees that abortion is not a freedom given to citizens. Liben P. said, ”Some Americans think that abortion should be permitted at some stages of fetal development and in certain circumstances, while others strongly oppose abortion under any circumstances. Americans enjoy certain fundamental liberties which are protected by the US Constitution. The right to abortion is not one of these freedoms.” The NLM later explained how the decisions to allow Roe v. Wade was only because the Supreme Court was under pro-choice judges who overpowered the opinions of opposing citizens.  

“Overturning it, I think is big, though it’s not as big as some people think. All the overturn of Roe v. Wade does is bring the issue back to the states on a state level.”

— Ms. Epland

Roe v. Wade being overturned acknowledges the flaws within the case’s claims. Bans and limitations have been put on abortion ever since it was made legal, as a result, it has now been given to the states. OHS history teacher Ms. Laura Epland said, “Overturning it, I think is big, though it’s not as big as some people think. All the overturn of Roe v. Wade does is bring the issue back to the states on a state level.” Abortion is something still in the cycle of deciphering whether it can be allowed in certain circumstances but after the overturning, all that is left is the decision of each state. 

Even though abortion is not a fundamental right and is not supported by any amendment without having to create another, many use the phrase, my body my choice. Yes, each individual has their own choices regarding what they do with their body. But what others don’t take into account is that there are two bodies involved in abortion. Both the mother and the child have rights. But what about the baby’s rights? It is scientifically proven by the College of Pediatricians that human life begins at the moment of conception. Therefore, the child or fetus should be given the right to live. 

Abortion can be perceived as a medical procedure that assists those in need of help. Making it seem to be harmless with no extreme post-surgery side effects to mothers. Allowing abortion to be presented as a part of each woman’s medical health. When abortion can psychologically cause mental harm that can lead to grief, depression, and drug use.

Mental health is something society is focusing more on as cases arise. Something our peers need to take into account is the long-term effects on those involved with abortion. The mother’s conflicting thoughts through pregnancy are being exploited by the structure of our “empowering” society, which supports women taking unconstitutional measures just to affirm their dignity as a woman. Abortion does not empower women, it breaks them. A study called The British Journal of Psychiatry stated “81% of post-abortive women experience depression”. A society that celebrates equality can not justify a procedure that harms women so consistently. In 2017, The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons conducted a study on the long-term effects of abortion. They found that “67.5% of women needed help from a mental health professional after having an abortion. In addition, 51% of women relied on prescription drug use post-abortion because of their mental health.” Many of these mothers felt immense loss, self-hate, shame and regret after aborting their children. Giving mothers another issue when they were told having an abortion would make their lives easier when it’s only causing more pain. 

Now that the decision is in the states hands, citizens will have to vote to decide the outcome. All we can depend on is the truth about abortions coming to light. Terminating a child is detrimental to women’s rights, born and unborn, and is something that American society should not have access to. No matter what the situation is, a life is being lost through each abortion. Giving the power to legislate on abortion to the states is allowing lives to be saved each day.  


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