The US Supreme Court is about to make a huge mistake.
If the expired draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a true indication of the will of the Court, the federal abortion rights in this country are about to be abolished. In this way, the Court will not only take the side of public opinion on the crucial issue of bodily autonomy, but will also signal that politics and religion play a more important role in health care than science and evidence.
For almost 50 years, people in the United States who had to terminate their pregnancies had the legal right to do so. Accessibility and accessibility have always been barriers and anti-abortion legislators have removed this right set out in Rowe vs. Wadebut the possibility of safe and legal abortion before the viability of the fetus is regulated by law.
The new solution will destroy Roe and Planned parenting against Caseyan opinion repealing a Pennsylvania law that requires a pregnant married woman to inform her husband in order to receive abortion services. Many states, ruled mainly by conservative lawmakers, have already passed or are planning to introduce laws that either completely ban abortion or place such severe restrictions on this medical procedure that it will be virtually impossible to legally terminate a pregnancy. Some states will criminalize doctors and other health care providers who perform abortions. Some laws that must come into force after a Supreme Court decision will deny people the right to terminate a pregnancy that occurs after rape or incest, or that poses serious medical hazards. These laws contradict all relevant science, and all health claims used to support them are clearly wrong.
When passing these laws, anti-abortion lawmakers often argue that abortion harms pregnant women. In a remarkable study from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found the opposite: refusing to abort people leads to deteriorating mental and physical health, as well as financial stability. The Turnaway study looked at about 1,000 women seeking abortion and followed them for five years. Some were early enough in their pregnancies to receive the procedure, while others were rejected because their pregnancies were slightly above the legal limit where they lived. Women who have had abortions report fewer mental health problems, even years later, and at most the general reaction was relief. Women who have been denied an abortion often experience short-term decline in mental health and increased anxiety.
Women who have been denied an abortion are more likely to be poor, unemployed or receiving state aid, although before seeking an abortion they were in a similar financial situation as women who had the opportunity to have one. . This study and others tell us what will happen nextdeer a world where people are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term because they are denied the most basic form of health care and the ability to make decisions about their own bodies. Access to abortion seems to have a very positive impact on people’s lives.
The fight against abortion rights is often portrayed as a religious mission, but not all religions or religious believers oppose abortion. We note that these political moves are part of the long-standing efforts of some conservative Christians, as well as anti-abortion politicians and activists.
By forcing people to have children when they do not want to, these ideologues deprive women of political and winning power, making them dependent on men in some cases. By forcing people to have children when they are not financially secure, these laws prolong poverty patterns. And the countries with the most restrictive abortion policies often have the worst social safety nets, the worst maternal mortality rates and the worst health injustices.
This ideology denies the dangers of pregnancy, despite the fact that in some American states maternal mortality is close to that of some developing nations. Some of the countries that have passed abortion restrictions are associated with early pregnancy. But the biological and genetic problems that lead to pregnancy complications are too many to list, and too different from person to person to set a deadline. Limiting gestational age, the laws of “heartbeat” and total prohibitions contradict the basic functions of human biology.
No matter how they legally justify their decision, Supreme Court judges who choose to overturn abortion rights tell the American public that science doesn’t matter, that evidence can be ignored. High courts have said similarly in lifting mandates for masks and vaccines during the COVID pandemic. The logic of Alito’s project – the right to abortion is not enshrined in the Constitution – may apply to all reproductive health, including Griswald v. Connecticut Decision of the Supreme Court repealing a law banning birth control. The country’s Supreme Court must value the evidence and respect best medical practice, but the conservative majority clearly does not.
President Joe Biden and other elected officials have said they will work to protect abortion rights. There are legislative means to ensure a certain degree of access to abortion. But with our current federal legislature and the current filibuster, gaining the necessary votes to pass measures to protect abortion will be difficult, if not impossible. We hope that legislators will consider the rights of abortion as a problem that requires overcoming legislative obstacles.
As our Supreme Court is prepared to radically limit the lives of so many people in the United States, we welcome those states that are stepping up their defense against abortion. We welcome those people who continue to fight the legal and practical battles for our right to health and our right to privacy. And we applaud the health professionals – doctors, nurses, medical assistants – and the volunteers, donors and programs that help pregnant women take care of themselves and their health. Safe and affordable reproductive health care is a fundamental right that is supported by science, medicine and respect for human dignity. Everyone should have access to it.