Recent news headlines have shaken us a bit and, if I'm completely honest, quite nervous for the future of our generations. Surely you read the big "ROE Vs WADE" dilemma, and if you haven't, here is what you need to know…
In 1973 the US Supreme Court case "Roe vs Wade" affirmed that abortions are a constitutional right for women. According to stats, 79% of Americans don't want to see Roe v Wade overturned.
So why are we so concerned?
Our will is in the hands of the Supreme Court judges appointed by the Trump administration, and they have proven to be unfriendly and hostile towards women's reproductive rights - nothing like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth believed that "It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decisionmaker, that her choice be controlling, If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex". It is still mind-boggling how the fundamental right to do what is best for you can be determined by others' belief systems - and let's face it, that's why there are laws in place to protect women.
It's bad enough that most can't afford an abortion, and the long outstanding "Hyde Amendment" makes it less accessible. This amendment allows policymakers to deny insurance coverage for abortion. Disproportionately, low-income families, people of color, young people, and immigrants are affected. No coverage means you are forced to have the baby or come out of pocket to cover the expense.
An abortion expense can undoubtedly impact life choices, and the numbers share the fact that many overlook. In 1970, only 8% of adult women had completed their four-year degrees, and the average age for marriage was under 21. Still, think women in power and their socioeconomic status are not directly tied to our choices? Well, two generations after Roe v Wade, women are no longer getting married until the age of 28. Women hold the highest percentage of college enrollments, and if that doesn't shock you, women have kicked the glass ceiling in every paid labor force industry.
But now, women will be faced with yet another brick wall…. "THE LAW"
If ROE is overturned…
1. The states will then have jurisdiction over how to handle abortion. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already signed into law prohibiting abortions as early as six weeks. It includes cases where the woman was impregnated as a result of rape or incest. As an incentive, any current abortion provider under the new state law can be sued by any citizen or entity.
If the citizen/entity wins the case, they will be awarded 10,000 plus be paid attorney fees. That's not all! Members of the Pennsylvania legislature voted to fine women who miscarry and sign a certificate of death. Can you imagine what other states can do? Or are we slowly stepping into an episode of The Handmaid's Tale?!
2. Abortion, in general, could be deemed illegal; yes, I'm talking jail time for even thinking of having an abortion. The 5th & 14th Amendments would come into play, and abortion would be prohibited nationally since the fetus would be considered a human being; therefore, human rights protections apply.
3. Resource centers will turn into everyone's nightmare misguided in the belief that women are "designed to give life, not take it."
What does all that mean for women?
Well, to simply put it … whether or not you choose to have a baby - it will no longer be your choice. This isn't a matter of beliefs - it's a matter of choice! How can we make such choices for women as a society?
Are the people against abortion rights really Pro-life or are they really just Pro-birth? Once life happens there is a true merit of financial responsibility, time investment, and no one is lining up to ease the burden. On the contrary, the same states that are against abortion rights, are also the same ones cutting budgets to help support new moms and the well-being of newborns. Unless we as a society choose to do right by every woman we force into motherhood, we have no place in decisions where women will stand alone!
Jenny Ramirez - a business leader, mental health advocate, women empowerment activist, and writer on women issues across the globe.