2022 is unfamiliar with women’s rights

Norah Sletten, Writer

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.