abortion and education

Op-Ed: Democracy or Atrocity: The Fight For Female Autonomy

by Zeeshan Ali

Just recently, in a 5-4 vote by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, justices ruled that the historic Roe v. Wade case, which provided federal protection for abortion, lacked proper constitutional authority and is not protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Such reversal of a landmark decision can be accredited to former President Donald Trump, who during his reign, appointed three pro-life justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

This was no surprise, in a 2016 presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton, Trump proclaimed, on the topic of Roe v. Wade, “I am putting pro-life justices on the court”, he noted that the authority of abortion must go back to the states to make the final determination. Trump, who won 306 electoral college votes over Clinton’s 232, was able to make his promise a reality. 

The United States, classified as a representative democracy, entails that government officials are elected by the citizens through fair processes. Moreover, its democratic principles reaffirm the right to express one’s opinion, no matter the rationale. However, such perspective raises the question of whether the reversal of Roe v. Wade and women’s rights became collateral to the fundamentals of democracy, or was it an unlawful strike orchestrated with specific intent?

Data gathered from 2016-2019 by Gallup, shows that an estimated 70% of those who have a pro-life view are affiliated with the Republican Party. It can be argued that Trump nominating pro-life SCOTUS justices, which later led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, was to appease his political party as well as further his personal convictions, those of which he was elected on. Pushing against the abortion movement can be categorized as no more than a representation of choice, the freedom and liberty to implement one’s opinion within the governmental structure they were voted into.

Though democratic practices may provide a snippet of justification for the degrading of women’s rights across the nation, it provides no honorable testimony of why the Supreme Court has chosen to attack female autonomy and human rights.

To dictate the humanistic functions of a woman is incomprehensible and the overturning of the case does not display a representative democracy, rather, that of injustice. Research from Gallup in May 2022, shows that 85% of voters believe abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances, 50%, and 35% respectively, leaving only about 13% to wanting abortions to be illegal in all circumstances. 

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, numerous states have already taken steps to completely ban abortion within their jurisdiction, raising health concerns for women. Nearly 930,000 abortions were performed in the year of 2020 alone, with 57% being women in their 20s and about 10% being teens aged 13-19. Roe v. Wade not only guaranteed the availability of abortions, but shielded women from harmful methods of feticide.

A study conducted at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health found that of the 1,000 women in their research, those unable to receive abortions were found to have more serious health issues and were four times more likely to live below the federal poverty line than those who had abortions. “When there are barriers placed on someone’s ability to access abortion care, it pushes them farther into pregnancy, and has pretty devastating financial implications”, says Morgan Hopkins, the executive director with the abortion rights group All Above All. 

The Supreme Court not only violated a precedent of 50 years, but it revealed the true nature of the justice system. One that is willing to deprive women and girls of a basic human right, rendering them second-class citizens. The reproductive rights of women should never be a topic of question, it should be an inalienable right, rooted in the preservation of independence of the individual. 

More than ever, civic participation and the voices of America is needed. With politicians preparing for the 2022 midterms, the power of change rests in the hands of the governed. Just as former President Trump and the Republican Party was able to propel the pro-life agenda, the opportunity for a pro-choice administration is upcoming.

In candidates, a demand for justice, liberation, and sovereignty must be echoed, from the streets to the congressional halls. Together, the power to construct a nation that represents, empowers, and protects women can and must be achieved, for this generation, and those to come.

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