Happy Birthday, Roe v. Wade!
In 1973, the Supreme Court heard the case of Roe v. Wade, and ruled that the US Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion without excessive government interference. This made abortion legal nationwide, which was a huge win for women’s rights, and their safety.
Because, prior to Roe v. Wade, women were still getting abortions. In many cases, they were illegal abortions, which also means dangerous abortions.
According to reporting by Planned Parenthood, in 1965, one-sixth of all pregnancy-related deaths were caused by illegal abortions. With the passage of Roe v. Wade, abortion became one of the safest medical procedures, with a 99% success rate.
However, despite data that shows that abortions are safe, that they can be humanely carried out, and despite the fact that data shows that when women are in control of their reproductive lives they are economically more secure, there have been tons and tons of attempts to whittle – and lately HACK – away at abortion rights.
Many women – mostly in conservative states – are already dealing with the consequences of these restrictions. Things like 72-hour waiting periods, invasive ultrasound procedures, scare tactics, and mandatory counseling have been impeding women (especially economically insecure women) from accessing abortions.
But last year some states took things to the next level. In 2019, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas all passed “trigger laws” which would essentially ban abortion, should the Supreme Court overturn the Roe decision. Additionally, 12 states passed abortion bans – either based on gestational age of the fetus, the specific method of abortion, and some states even passed bans based on the reason for the abortion.
The good news? 2019 also saw some states (New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont) codifying abortion rights into their state laws.
But this March, the Supreme Court – now stacked with conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – will hear an abortion case concerning the 2014 Louisiana law which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. If this law is upheld, there will only be one abortion provider left in the entire state. While many believe that the court will not completely overturn Roe, many argue that the damage done by upholding this restrictive law comes as close as you could get to banning abortion altogether.
Happy birthday, Roe v. Wade. Hope you live to see another year.
Stay sex positive.