Should Roe V. Wade be Abolished or Reformed? 

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By Phoebe Grace Aseoche
Published December 13, 2021

Overview

  • Texas takes on why Roe v Wade should be reformed or abolished and how it is limiting women’s rights. 

  • Why did it take so long for the Supreme Court to review this case? And Why is Roe v Wade caught in the controversy? 

  • Interview portions of government officials (news) take on this conversation.

 

What is Roe v Wade and Why Is It Connected to Abortion?

Abortion has always been controversial in conversations. If you were to ask a person or peer if they supported abortion or not, they may ask, “well is abortion a woman’s right” or “do the number of people who served the consequences of an abortion outweigh the positive outlooks?” Those who abortion is against their religious beliefs or should abortion be legal to an extent. For decades, this conversation hasn’t fully been addressed amongst society which is why there is a divide. What does it mean to be pro-choice or pro-life? I am hoping that this article will answer your question. This article is neutral and will present both sides of the case, all opinions are accepted. 

 

Roe v. Wade

The US first abortion case was argued December 13, 1971, then reargued October 11, 1972, and ultimately was decided January 22, 1973, making abortion legal across the US. Although this case was resolved within 3 years, the question still remains on if abortion should be legal and to what extent. A woman named Norma McCorvey, from Texas wanted to terminate her pregnancy in 1969. At the time, abortion was legal but only in the instance to save a woman's life which McCorvey wasn’t in danger of. She attempted to illegally get aborted but needed 2 attorneys that challenged anti-abortion laws. The opposing side was Henry Wade, a district attorney in Dallas County (enforced the abortion law). McCorvey filed a case against him and it was soon heard by the Supreme Court in 1971. 

 

Two Supreme Court Justices, Past Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Justice Harry Blackmun were important figures in deciding the legality of abortion. Justice Harry Blackmun advocated for women’s rights stating a women’s right to privacy under the 14th Amendment which tops the state's right to abort which also challenges the concept of federalism. The federal government is able to overpower the state government in certain situations including this one. As a compromise, the government decided to regulate abortion laws into three trimesters: 

 

  • First Trimester → It is the mother’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. 

  • Second Trimester → The government could regulate but not ban abortion if the mother's health is at risk.

  • Third Trimester → The state government could prohibit abortion to protect the fetus and improve its survival (when outside the womb) and if the mother’s health was in danger. 

 

What were the public's views of abortion and how unified were opinions?

In august of 1972, Americans believed in the illegalization of abortion “46-42 but by April 1973, it was 52-41” (Roe v. Wade, explained, 1:58). 

 

Other court cases relating to abortion (quick read!

Planned Parenthood v. Casey → Link

Doe v. Bolton → Link

Maher v. Roe → Link

Colautti v. Franklin → Link

Harris v. McRae → Link

H.L v. Matheson → Link

City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health → Link

Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists → Link

 

Supreme Court Pending Decision

This is not the first time Roe v Wade has been challenged and interpreted as unconstitutional through the interpretation of Congress and the Judicial Branch. The late Justice Byron White and Justice William Rehnquist questioned the use of the current privacy law and how it was written by the founding fathers. They used this argument to support how Roe shouldn’t be questioned instead of the courts due to it being biased. It was said that McCorvey was not in her first trimester –It is the mother’s decision to terminate the pregnancy– which means the government could regulate but not ban abortion if the mother's health is at risk. 

 

In researching this event, I reached out to two government and politics teachers at TYWLS who were able to give as much information and perspective from an experienced point of view. I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Melcher –Social Studies Teacher– on the current decisions Congress has made and how it will impact the future for unwanted pregnancies or motherhood. To his understanding “the Supreme Court has allowed the Texas law to remain although it left the door open for people to challenge it.” As much as Scott wanted to share in this interview, he believed Roe v. Wade should not be abolished and while the Texas law didn't make abortion technically illegal overall, it does make it much more difficult to access and a more intimidating process. He explained how “the Supreme Court doesn't want to be seen as too ‘activist’ in their decisions so maybe pushing the issue off for later decisions.” To further elaborate on his thinking, Scott was certain that abortion was benefiting women and their rights. 

 

I also had a very informative interview with Nick Scales–social studies teacher– on his understanding of this current event. He answered explaining how "The U.S. Supreme Court refused for a second time to block a Texas law that has virtually brought abortions to a halt for anyone more than six weeks pregnant, a time so early that many women don't know they are pregnant. Separately, the court dismissed as improvidently granted the Justice Department's challenge to the law, meaning the court should not have accepted the case in the first place." Although Nick has expressed his neutral side in this conversation, he believes it should be left to the woman in the situation given it is their body and their right. Although, will abortion be impactful to just women or men as well and how have men felt about more women having the choice to lessen procreation accidental or purposeful? 

 

What will the future of abortion look like? Will it ever be resolved?

Looking towards the future, when asked if this case will impact the future of the federal government showing its power and women who are looking towards abortion treatments both Nick and Scott have different noticings. Scott: “It may be a signal of a more conservative era in the Supreme Court in the near future. This could affect women's reproductive rights and other issues. Many are wondering if we should reform the structure of the Supreme Court to either add more justices or limit their terms to help.” While Nick states: “I think it sets a precedent that will surely continue to be challenged on both sides of the argument. It will be heavily set in federalism (state law vs. federal government law) and how it will be challenged in the lower courts.” Scotts focus point was abortion laws impacting women’s rights while Nick’s argument highlighted a general sense of government laws and the powers between state and federal government. When will the state government have the upper hand or vice versa in a similar situation? 

Why do you think abortion is being brought into the conversation now although it started decades ago?

Scott

Because of the philosophy of the current Supreme Court (more conservative justices than liberal), pro-life advocates realize they have a chance to change the laws on abortion so they are trying to take advantage of it. 

Nick

I think it's always been an idea/case that has been in discussion since Roe v. Wade. It has just been brought back into the lead of the conversation since this particular case made it to the highest court in the nation. 

 

Ending Thoughts For The TYWLS Community 

Scott

Unfortunately, there is a realistic chance that abortion rights could be limited in some parts of America thanks to the potential decisions of a more conservative Supreme Court in the coming years. Here in New York, that is unlikely to change, however. While pro-choice supporters can still take steps to fight this change, advocates may have to take steps to help support those in underserved parts of America.

 

Nick

People can make active and positive change by taking part in the democratic process by voting for representatives and laws. Voting is the number one way in which the people can make a difference in policy and law and if enough people can support a particular issue, you will see it become law!

 

What Do Other Parties Have To Say?

Not only have women been forgotten in the discussion of abortion but people who have chosen not to gender identify themselves. Hear what they have to say! At times, we forget the world has diversified since the late 1970s. Now countries have become more open and accepted in people of race, religion, gender, and opinions. Has the law? Will the government stay traditional with the decisions regarding the founding fathers or more so adapt to the present day inclusivity and cultural diversity? Below are two of the largest pro-life and pro-choice organizations supporting soon-to-be parents making the impactful life decision. 

 

Planned Parenthood (For Abortion)

Planned Parenthood, owned by CEO Alexis McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund,  is the largest provider for abortions in the U.S however has been decreasing in costumers. It offers services including STD testing and treatment, birth control, well-woman exams, cancer screening and prevention, abortion, hormone therapy, infertility services, and general health care at little to no cost.

 

National Right to Life Committee (Against Abortion) 

National Right to Life Committee is a non-profit organization and the oldest and largest national anti-abortion organization in the US. It is devoted to educating parents or soon-to-be parents against induced abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. It spreads awareness across all 50 states and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide. 

 

TYWLS Girls Are A Part Of The Conversation

TYWLS has created a respected and powerful community of young leaders to take charge of their own opinions in society legally. I would like to bring all the women at TYWLS and their voices to their opinions of how the government has handled abortion cases. Should there be requirements and levels of involvement for the government or when a woman will be able to terminate their unborn child? Or is there a new side of the conversation that should be addressed? Voice it here on this Jamboard! I would love to get to know your thoughts!

(n.d.). Summary of Roe v. Wade and Other Key Abortion Cases. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/upload/Summary-of-Roe-v-Wade-and-Other-Key-Abortion-Cases.pdf 

Blackmun, H. A. (1985, November 5). Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Oyez. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1985/84-495 

COLAUTTI v. FRANKLIN | FindLaw. (n.d.). Cases and Codes. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/439/379.html 

Doe v. Bolton :: 410 US 179 (1973). (n.d.). Justia US Supreme Court Center. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/410/179/ 

HL v. Matheson :: 450 US 398 (1981). (n.d.). Justia US Supreme Court Center. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/450/398/ 

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1991/91-744 

POV: Who Is Forgotten in Our Discussion of Abortion. (2021, September 11). Boston University. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/pov-nonbinary-people-and-trans-men-need-abortion-care-too/ 

Powell, L. F. (n.d.). Maher v. Roe. Oyez. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1976/75-1440 

Powell, L. F. (1982, November 30). Akron v. Akron Center For Reproductive Health. Oyez. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1982/81-746 

Roe v. Wade, explained. (2018, July 13). YouTube. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HZj8Qp4p2A 

Stewart, P. (1980, April 21). Harris v. McRae. Oyez. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1979/79-1268