By: Emily Eberhart | Arts and Entertainment Editor
May 29, 2019
With a majority conservative Supreme Court now in place with the addition of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh this year, Republicans have began making a much larger and more drastic effort in order to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade. This controversial case ruled in the 1970s that women constitutionally had a right to privacy under the 9th Amendment, which was then incorporated by the 14th Amendment to protect women from state laws that impeded upon their privacy– specifically, restrictive abortion laws. In retaliation mere weeks ago, several southern states including Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia all passed such laws that went as far as making abortion after just six weeks practically illegal, in all cases, including rape, incest, and health risks to the mother. In fact, one law states that any doctor that performs such abortions could be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison – more than what most murders get.
While these laws are shocking and vile to some, they are not the first ways in which southern conservative lawmakers have attempted to impede upon female access to reproductive healthcare. For years, these same lawmakers have placed strict regulations on health clinics that provide abortion causing most to shut down in several red states. An example of an absurd regulation placed on reproductive health clinics is a requirement forcing these institutions to have hallways that are at least eight feet wide to provide room for two gurneys to pass through, despite the fact that such medical equipment is rarely used at these sites. Ultimately these uninformed laws were strictly an effort to control a woman’s ability to have freedom over her own body and reproductive health.
These laws may represent a moral or religious code to some people, but ultimately they undermine the promise of a separation of church and state within our legislative system. On top of that, from a socioeconomic perspective, these laws perpetuate an endless cycle of poverty as more children must be born into households that cannot support them financially and are therefore forced into welfare programs funded by our government. Ironically, Republican lawmakers tend to show more concern about the state of our economy over the well-being of our minorities. These abortion laws, strongly supported by conservative politicians, will only increase our overall population, shrinking the middle class and contributing to the demise of our economic system as a country.
Finally, from a strictly social standpoint, these laws lend a stronger form of control and power to the patriarchy and feel utterly archaic as they seem to condemn women for having the same sexual needs or desires that men may have. These legislators (majority white and male, mind you) put out the message that women only have sex to reproduce and that a woman’s only purpose in life is motherhood regardless of if the father of the child will be in the picture or not.
Ultimately, as a young woman growing up in modern day America, it is easy to become distressed or even terrified over these laws and notions that threaten to send us backward in time. Knowing the rate at which women are sexually assaulted and their assailants are not brought to justice, and now fearing that such assault may translate to unwanted parenthood is absolutely baffling and rotten to its core. No woman should live in fear of own body and no woman should be forced into life changing circumstances that could alter the trajectory of her success. To those who wonder if these embryos were to grow up to be the next Einstein or MLK, I wonder, as a counter, if these young mothers could have done the same with their lives had they been given access to abortion. That is why I stand by the ruling of Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to decide what is best for her body, her health, and her lifestyle as it comes to abortion.