The overturning of Roe v. Wade goes against basic human rights

Deirdre de Leeuw den Bouter, Managing Editor

I believe reproductive rights are human rights. Clearly, this is not an opinion held by the Supreme Court of the United States.

 On May 2, 2022, a draft opinion was leaked to the press in which the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Abortion was illegal in the US until 1973, when Roe v. Wade made it a protected right. Since that ruling, abortion has been legal to some degree in every state, but the rights of women across the country have been getting more and more limited as individual states pass laws that make it virtually impossible to get an abortion.

For example, in nine states, it is currently illegal to get an abortion after six weeks. But many women don’t even know they are pregnant after six weeks––their period is just a couple weeks late.

While Congress has full legislative control over DC, it is unlikely that they will fully ban abortion in the District. However, Congress also oversees DC’s laws and budget, and is much more likely to exercise its control there. If the federal government were to cut all funding for abortion, it would heavily curtail a woman’s ability to get an abortion in DC.

In fact, Congress has a history of attempting to control women’s bodies in DC. In 2015, the House of Representatives voted against DC legislation that protected employees from discrimination on the basis of their reproductive health decisions. In 2017, the House also voted to prevent DC from using tax revenue to subsidize abortions for low income women.

Now, I’m not here to argue the morality of getting an abortion. If you never get an abortion because it goes against your beliefs, no one will force you to have one. What I’m arguing is that the right of women to control their own bodies is crucial, and forcing someone who doesn’t want a child to give birth will do neither the mother nor the child any good. 

Furthermore, abortion prevention policies made with religious motives blatantly disregard the separation of church and state. The United States was founded on principles of secularism and religious freedom. Why should I, an atheist woman, be prevented from having an abortion in the name of a God I don’t believe in?

In fact, 88% of people in the 117th congress affiliated themselves with Christianity, while the percentage of total American adults who identify as Christian is lower, at 65% as of 2021.

It is almost inevitable at this point that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. This will usher in a new era in which women across the United States will be unable to exercise their rights as citizens of the “free world.” Women across the country will have to travel to get abortions, and those without the means to take time off from work and go to another state will be left with few options. 

While we may think of DC as a safe haven where abortion will remain a right, the city isn’t protected from the decisions Congress can make for us. It is very plausible that in the near future, getting an abortion in the District will be rendered almost impossible. •