Editor's note: The following editorial contains a short but potentially triggering description of a death due to an unsafe abortion. Read at your own discretion.
Roe v. Wade is a case we have all heard much about. Abortions are hotly contested here in America — some of us believe they are murdering babies, and others think they are an option for a pregnant person who gets caught in a hard time. Pro-life supporters frequently stand outside of clinics that perform abortions and yell at the pregnant people entering them. Pro-choice supporters often discuss how abortion is health care and try and combat the pro-life narrative.
In 1973, Roe v. Wade established that pregnant people had the right to choose an abortion and that this right was protected by the privacy rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Roe v. Wade gave pregnant people the right to choose a safe and legal way of terminating a pregnancy. This became a way to save the lives of many pregnant people. Let’s face it: even if abortion was not legal, pregnant people will always still attempt them. They try them in unsafe ways, as has been seen throughout the past hundreds of years in history.
We recently learned of a story that needs to be shared with you all. Growing up, one board member's grandma had a best friend, who we are going to call Judith. Judith and the board member's grandma graduated from high school and were on their way to living lives as young women with their futures laid out ahead of them.
Judith became pregnant, and as a young 18-year-old, she was not prepared to be a mother. She was desperate not to go through with being pregnant, and thus, Judith got an abortion. It wasn’t a safe abortion, though, and she used a wire coat hanger. Judith’s uterus was punctured. She bled to death while her mom listened to her moan, scream and writhe in agony. An 18-year-old woman had her life tragically cut short because she did not have access to a safe and legal option.
This is precisely the unsafe option that will still be chosen if Roe v. Wade is not around. Other dangerous alternatives will be resorted to as well. Risking the safety and well-being of many pregnant people in America is at stake if the right afforded by Roe v. Wade is not maintained. We would have much higher mortality rates for pregnant people because pregnancy, parenting and children are not everyone’s dreams.
Right now, in 2021, almost 50 years after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court is set to hear a case that challenges Roe v. Wade: a case from Mississippi that would like to ban abortions at 15 weeks of gestation. The Court agreeing to hear this case has stirred up much controversy, with good reason. Those who are pro-life are in favor of listening to a case that has the potential to create more abortion restrictions in America. In contrast, those who are pro-choice remain concerned for the well-being of pregnant people.
So, what exactly has Roe v. Wade done for America? Some new economic research claims it has shockingly done a lot in ways you might not expect. Unfortunately, children get caught in the crossfire of their parents’ decisions, meaning if their parents make less-than-desirable decisions, they will likely follow suit.
A paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that legalized abortions since Roe v. Wade have led to a drastic decrease in crime rates. To be exact, this crime rate is being attributed to a 45 percent decrease in the last three decades. America sees less crime because of Roe v. Wade.
Pro-life supporters oppose abortion and the legalization of it for many reasons. Pro-lifers believe the fetus growing inside the woman’s uterus is alive. By this logic, the fetus that is being housed in the woman’s uterus has rights. The Declaration of Independence has the well-known phrase that all men have unalienable rights, which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, by this standard, if the fetus is alive, it has a right to life.
Don’t pregnant people also have the right to life?
Pregnant people do not choose to have an abortion for the same reasons. Some have been raped or sexually assaulted; some cannot afford to raise another child; some have their own life threatened by pregnancy. And, of course, a multitude of other reasons are presented.
If abortion is not legal, and a person’s life is threatened by pregnancy or giving birth, is their life not valid? Do they not matter? Their life is at risk by being forced to carry out the pregnancy and go through with childbirth, but because the fetus is alive and has rights, the pregnant person's are canceled? The pro-life believers need to have a narrative that catches up with the times to be truly pro-life.
The pro-life rhetoric that pregnant people should go through with the pregnancy and put the child up for adoption is old and overused. Too many children end up in the foster care system and age out. Of course, adoption is a very valid option for couples who are unable to conceive children or those who would like to adopt children. But adoption in America is quite expensive and seems to be gate-kept to the upper-middle class and upper-class families.
Planned Parenthood has provided some great information regarding Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe v. Wade would be detrimental to many who are of reproductive age in the United States. One shocking statistic states overturning Roe v. Wade could potentially make sure one-third of people of reproductive ages no longer have access to safe, legal abortions. An astonishing amount of people would be forced to attempt to find some other avenue to terminate their pregnancy. Unsafe termination of pregnancies can lead to further complications — the most dangerous being death.
Abortion makes it so those who are pregnant have the choice not to be. Roe v. Wade made this possible, and overturning this legislation is dangerous. Overturning Roe v. Wade will not stop abortions from happening; it will make it so unsafe and legal abortions no longer an option.
Safe and legal abortions save lives.
America must wake up and realize that the lives of pregnant people are valuable, not expendable. Pregnant people are not incubators here to carry a fetus through nine months of gestation and left to be forgotten about; they are living and breathing human beings. Their rights deserve to be protected.