Hathaway Brown School
Instructor: Scott Parsons
Fight to Keep Roe v. Wade in Place
Fight to Keep Roe v. Wade in Place
"In 2003 the abortion ratio was 241 legal abortions per 1,000 live births or about 1 abortion for every 4 babies born alive".1 The abortion ratio is the number of legal abortions for every one thousand live births in a given year". Performing an extensive amount of abortions would never have been possible if the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v Wade had not occurred. Roe v Wade was a breakthrough Supreme Court case that not only gave women the right to get an abortion but also catalyzed the fourteenth Amendment1 to the United States Constitution which in turn expanded citizens' rights. Roe v Wade was the court case between a woman named Norma Leah Nelson2 versus the state of texas via the district attorney Herney Wade.1 In 1970 in the northern district of Texas a woman named Norma McCorvey 4decided to take the state of Texas to court over the laws against abortion. McCorvey submitted the lawsuit under the alias of Roe along with attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. The Supreme Court justices after much deliberation voted 7-2 in favor of legalizing abortion with only Justices William Rehnquist and Byron White voting against it2. Roe v Wade extended women's rights to include abortion rights and by altering and denying this landmark decision the constitutional rights given to women in the fourth and fourteenth amendment3 are in grave danger. Furthermore, the suppression of Roe v Wade would allow more systemic problems to both within hospitals and within state governments, which puts the current and future of women's rights at risk.
One reason that the suppression of Roe v Wade would be detrimental to women's rights is because it would take away the rights given to women in both the fourth and fourteenth amendments The main part of the constitution that was analyzed during the Roe v Wade trial was the 4th amendment5 that states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." 1The 4th amendment2, specifically the excerpt shown above was vital to the passing of Roe v Wade because the analysis of the document is what allowed for abortion to become legal and it led to the creation of the 14th amendment6. The 14th amendment is as follows: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."2 The creation of the 14th amendment is not only an extension of the 4th amendment but it also expands those rights and is more specific on what those rights are, which includes the right to get an abortion7. The creation of the 14th amendment was a landmark case in reproductive rights as well as women's rights as a whole. Individual states creating restrictions surrounding the 14th Amendment straddle the line between state and federal law but also put in danger the lives of the one in four women that will get abortions lifetime.8 Suppressing Roe v Wade would be detrimental to women's rights because it would completely reverse the fourteenth amendment and would also partially reverse the fourth amendment
The second reason that altering or denying abortions is suppressing women's rights is because it is allowing for larger systemic problems to occur within state governments as well as in hospitals, both private and public. This is extremely problematic because the more both of these entities are allowed to bend the rules the more they will try to push boundaries that will only further cause harm to women's rights. An example of when a state tried and succeeded to alter the laws put in place occurred in 1995. "In 1995, Ohio became the first to ban the D&E procedure for abortion, in addition to strictly limiting abortions in general after 22 weeks gestation."3 This becomes a problem because many women, especially those who were not planning to get pregnant, do not discover that they are pregnant until after their first trimester of pregnancy, approximately 12 weeks after contraception, and after that, it can take weeks to get an appointment with a gynecologist. This means that many women are unable to receive abortions. There are several reasons women may want or need an abortion, a few are health concerns, age, and financial issues The passing of laws such as this also encourages other anti-abortion legislators to pass similar legislation. One way that hospitals have pushed against Roe v Wade is by not letting healthcare providers to perform abortions is explored by [speaker name and credentials], when they claim that, some state '"conscientious objection to abortion"' (COTA) laws violate the Constitution when they allow providers to deliberately choose not to fulfill these duties by refusing to perform a life-saving abortion" 4. Allowing doctors to refuse to give necessary abortions not only creates an immeasurable power dynamic between the doctor and the patient because the patients' life is in the doctor's hands, but it also violates the physician's oath to do no harm1. If a doctor refuses a lifesaving abortion then they are not abiding by this oath because if the doctor does not provide the abortion then they will inevitably end up harming someone. Allowing states and hospitals to create laws that prohibit abortions not only allows physicians to neglect to abide by the Hippocratic Oath but also endangers the lives of millions of women. Suppressing the legislation that was a result of the Supreme Court case Roe v Wade would lead to systemic problems that would be detrimental to women's health and well-being.
The third and final reason that the suppression of abortion rights is an extension of human rights is that it takes away a few of the already minimal rights that women have. This is something that is extremely important to avoid because diminishing women's rights would not only impact the current generation of women but also the future generation. It could limit women from doing everyday activities such as going to work. It could also result in thousands of more women dying each year in childbirth. This is because it not only allows doctors to deny women everyday healthcare treatment but it also allows doctors to deny women lifesaving postpartum treatments. According to [author name and credentials], "women who give birth after failure to obtain a needed abortion are significantly more likely to report a potentially life-threatening condition and experience physical limitations after birth than are those who underwent abortion."5 In the quote above it is shown that women often have lasting health problems after giving birth especially if the woman was in need of abortion but is unable to get it. This is problematic because it means that women have to live with chronic conditions which could have been avoided had the women gotten an abortion Another reason why restricting abortion rights has diminished women's rights is that it was extremely hard to allow teens to complete a high school1 or college education if they are pregnant since they only have to go to school while pregnant but also have to take care of a baby while they are still in school. Sandra M. Alters writes in Abortion: An Eternal Social and Moral Issue that "teen mothers are less likely to obtain the education they need to get a good job—only 40% of teen mothers graduate from high school, compared to 75% of female teens of similar socioeconomic status who are not mothers."6As a result of not being able to get an abortion, women are not only forced to carry the child and deal with possible health consequences after the pregnancy but women are also almost twice as likely to not finish high school.2 This also means that many more mothers and children would be in poverty because of the expense of having a child. Suppressing or repealing Roe v Wade would be detrimental to women because it would strip women of rights almost completely
In conclusion, the landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v Wade tremendously expanded women's rights by allowing women the option of terminating a pregnancy. Repealing this decision even partially would be detrimental to the enforcement of both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and would create systemic problems. Repealing Roe v Wade will also take away many of the rights that women have gained over the last century. Throughout history, women have constantly had their rights taken away, but since the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, the male-dominated United States society has allowed women more rights than ever. Repealing or even revising Roe v Wade would put all of those rights at risk and would put all women at risk.