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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Opinion: War on women

On Monday, May 2, a Supreme Court draft was leaked, detailing Roe v. Wade’s overturning and has since been confirmed to be authentic. Justice Samuel Alito describes the 1973 ruling as “egregiously wrong from the start.” He goes on to say how “its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” 

This isn’t an official ruling, more so a tentative one. 

Justices can and have flipped sides. Take Obamacare, for instance. Chief Justice John Roberts switched his vote for Obamacare at the last second. However, all things considered, I’m not sure how likely that will be. In the Supreme Court, there are six Republican-appointed justices: John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. In comparison, there are three Democrat-appointed justices. 
The odds are not in abortion’s favor.

Abortion, as I have reiterated many times before, is necessary healthcare. No matter which way you spin it, it’s medical care. However you arrive needing medical care, it shouldn’t dictate how and if you can receive it. If you smoked for 30 years and were diagnosed with lung cancer, you would receive medical treatment. Why? Just because your physical ailments are the cause of your own doing shouldn’t be a reason as to why you don’t deserve care. 

For a party that is so adamant about limited government, they sure don’t have a problem dictating what goes on in everyone’s uteruses. 

That’s been an argument among many pro-lifers. The argument is, “Well, if you aren’t in the position to be having a baby, then don’t have sex.” That’s the potential consequence of that action, right? Sure, but not in the same way that resorts to the loss of our rights. It’s archaic to think people aren’t going to have sex, and it’s not biological to find that argument feasible.

There has also been much debate as to what would justify an abortion, like rape, incest or the mother’s health. Those are all viable reasons to require an abortion, but not the only ones. 
A woman’s bodily autonomy shouldn’t be granted only when a woman’s body is violated.
Bodily autonomy is recognized as the right to one’s own body — the authority to dictate what happens to their own body and their own self-ownership. Take, for example, not being able to mandate that every American receive the COVID-19 vaccine because we have the autonomy to determine what we do with our own bodies. We also can’t take organs from corpses without prior consent to do so. You cannot force someone to donate their bodily fluids or organs, even if it is a moral situation to do so. 

 

A fetus cannot survive without the mother choosing to sacrifice her body, and you cannot force her to give up her rightful bodily autonomy. 
Pregnancy is a very beautiful but incredibly dangerous and life-altering experience, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a daunting nine months that can forever change a woman’s body and mental health. In 2019, the U.S. was ranked 33rd out of 36 in terms of infant mortality rate among countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. As for maternal mortality, the U.S. has an increasing rate of 152 deaths per 100,000 births.
America is one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet it can’t seem to figure out how to effectively treat its women and children. 

Even worse, Black women’s infants are over twice as likely to die than infants born from white women. The leading causes of infant mortality were low birthrate, congenital malformations, maternal complications, sudden infant death syndrome and unintentional injuries. Black women in 2018 were twice as likely to receive late or no prenatal care compared to white women. In today’s America, Black women are five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. Even postpartum, Black women are three times more likely to die than white women. 
Why? The lack of knowledge, resources and affordability in minority communities. 

 

Instead of focusing on shortening this very wide gap, the plan is to force more women to carry to term — makes sense. 

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, every female fetus will enter the world with fewer rights than she had in the womb. If women are forced to give birth, it’s unprecedented to imagine the number of children that will grow up in a home that doesn’t want them. If women are forced to give birth, there will be millions of mothers obligated to carry a severely defected child to term and will possibly suffer severe mental trauma from doing so. 

Forced birth isn’t saving lives; it will ruin and end them. Not just for the mother, but also for the child. As I’ve said, banning abortions will never stop or even lower abortion rates. What banning abortions will get you is thousands of women dying from septic shock and infections — possibly even creating an epidemic. It will cause gruesome trauma, irreversible fertility damages, unsanitary procedures and permanent damage to how American women will view pregnancy. 

The tip of the iceberg is in the Roe v. Wade draft. Alito mentions how abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and should be left up to the states. The Ninth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to protect citizens’ rights from being infringed upon when they aren’t clearly outlined within the Constitution. For example, the right to vote, the right to travel, the right to privacy, etc. Unenumerated rights protect Americans when a right isn’t clearly spelled out in the Constitution. 

If the Supreme Court does decide to overturn Roe v. Wade and we’re going off Alito’s justification, then it leads to wonder what rights are going to be taken away next. Roe has been used as a crutch that has led to numerous other autonomous rights. If it were overturned, would we see the right to contraceptives, the right to marry who you love — regardless of gender or race — and the right to consensual sex be threatened?

Maybe — it’s completely possible. 

The issue with the war between pro-life and pro-choice is that many people don’t understand what constitutes pro-choice beliefs. Being pro-choice in a nutshell is believing that no matter where you fall with your personal beliefs on abortion, you don’t have the right to dictate what another person should do with their body. It’s a key distinction: pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. You can be incredibly anti-abortion for yourself, but believe that you should not have a say in what another woman does with her own body. 

For example, when the COVID-19 vaccine started coming out, I got it as soon as I could. Still to this day, there are millions of Americans who haven’t been vaccinated. Some logic I find to be ridiculous, and others I find more reasonable, but the main point here is that I, or anyone else, cannot dictate what you do with your body. That is solely up to you. No matter how much I disagree, I respect your right. 
The same goes for abortion. You can be staunchly opposed to abortion in your personal life, but what you cannot do is tell a woman what she can do with her own body. 

Now, if your pro-life position is rooted in religion, then we might have an issue. Being pro-life for yourself for religious reasons isn’t in any way wrong. We all have our own separate values and morals that come from somewhere. If your specific religion believes that abortion is wrong, that is OK, too. However, if your religious belief is cast and forced onto those around you, then we have a problem. The Separation of Church and State is a defining feature within our country. It’s a way we can separate what our religion has taught us and enables us to make decisions and laws for the entirety of our nation fairly. 

The moment we allow one religion to dictate what the population can do, we alienate millions of Americans.

It has nothing to do with babbling viable babies. The issues at hand are not directed toward women who are aborting healthy, wanted, third-trimester babies. It does have everything to do with lawmakers catering to evangelical groups who believe a group of cells has more rights than a person. 

Everyone used to think that the right to a safe abortion was set in stone, yet here we are. It’s incomprehensible that we’re still having this conversation. This right was supposed to be one our grandparents won for us. It breaks my heart, as a woman, that millions of others will be faced with horrible consequences if it’s overturned. As someone who dreams of being a mother, I fear for my future daughters, and I’m heartbroken that it’s even a possibility on the horizon. 

If there is one thing you get from my writing, it’s this: Banning abortions won’t stop abortions. Implementing better access to healthcare and contraceptives, improving our foster care system, expanding resources for maternal and infant health, guaranteeing stricter and more prolonged maternity leave and increasing the minimum wage are all ways to lower abortion rates. 
Regardless of where you fall, I plead with you to understand this heavily researched fact. 

If you care at all for the safety and well-being of infants in and outside, you’ll take the steps necessary to better the world for these children and their families. 

If there is one thing I can leave with you, it is this: look at the science and learn what banning abortion will cause. Understand that if you are anti-abortion as a whole, the only way to decrease rates is to better the systems that are failing. 

At the end of the day, we’re all fighting for the same thing — just in a different way.
Kaelin Connor is a psychology senior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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