“Roe was egregiously wrong.”
By Jared Dashevsky
The Supreme Court reaffirmed what many expected but wished would never happen: a strike down of the Roe v Wade decision.
Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. — Justice Samuel Alito
Recall that Roe v Wade established a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability (around 23 weeks) and prevented states from banning abortion.
Last November, the Supreme Court justices heard arguments over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for medical emergencies or several fetal abnormalities incompatible with life. Jackson’s Women Health Organization—Mississippi’s only abortion clinic—filed a lawsuit to block the law, arguing it was unconstitutional.
The lawsuit quickly moved through the courts, landing on the Supreme Court’s desk. Based on the arguments in November, it seemed most Supreme Court justices would vote to uphold the Mississippi law, thereby striking down the Roe v Wade decision.
I will die saying this: abortion is health care. To deny access to safe and common abortion procedures before viability is unjust and neglects patient autonomy—a pillar of medical ethics.
An abortion procedure is care that is simple, extremely safe and way more common than you think. For example, around one in five pregnancies in the U.S. end in induced abortion. While you may expect abortion rates to decrease once the Supreme Court releases its final draft, they won’t decrease. People will continue to get abortions—it’s just a matter of safety. This is problematic from a health and equality standpoint.
Abortion restriction laws are inherently pro-inequality. Take Texas’s heartbeat ban: pregnant people needing an abortion face a 20-fold increase in driving distance to reach the nearest abortion clinic. That’s assuming everyone has access to the transportation (and funds) needed to travel such distances and can afford to take off from work. Companies like Apple, Salesforce and Amazon are being proactive, offering to cover expenses for abortion procedures if the employee has to travel out of state. But, it’s unlikely these employees fall under the “low income” group, missing the populations who’ll suffer the most from restrictive abortion bans.
Nearly half the country will immediately ban abortion once the ruling is final.
I have three predictions:
- Telemedicine abortion will likely become even more popular since it’s so accessible. Patients will travel across state lines, pick up mifepristone and misoprostol, drive back to their homes and carry out the medical abortion in the comfort of their homes.
- More progressive states will create “safe havens” for patients receiving abortion procedures and doctors providing them.
- The states that ban abortion will have higher maternal mortality rates than those that protect abortion by law.