What Does the Leaked Supreme Court Draft Opinion Mean for Women

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

What’s Happening Now?
On May 3rd, Politico reported that a leaked draft from the Supreme Court suggests it will overturn Roe v. Wade. The draft shows Justice Alito looking forward to giving each state’s government the right to set its abortion laws. If this draft decision is issued as the final decision, then abortion in 26 states could become illegal. It would be unprecedented and a potential human rights violation to take away fundamental rights from millions of people. The draft opinion of the Supreme Court on overturning abortion rights is a threat to human rights. Nevertheless, abortion rights should be preserved because it is a woman’s right to life, health, and equality; thus banning it would only make things worse.

Why Abortion Rights Matter?
Illegalizing abortion rights violates the fundamental right for women and girls. Laws denying access to abortion have a discriminatory purpose of undermining women’s capacity to make responsible decisions about their bodies.
Making abortions illegal means discriminating against people with a uterus, personhood, privacy, and autonomy. Women have the right to make their own decisions regarding when they want to have children. A woman’s decision is dependent on her relationship status, her financial situation, and her overall health. Ultimately, it is the woman herself who will have to deal with the consequences of her decision. The government has no business interfering with a woman’s right to make such decisions and has no right to tell women what to do with their bodies. Doing so would be a violation of their autonomy.
Not all pregnancies are intended, with that being said, a pregnancy could mean more hardship than joy. For a single woman, becoming pregnant could ruin her economic situation. For a teenager, unwanted pregnancy would mean missing out on educational opportunities. And for a woman whose marriage is a burden, a new pregnancy may mean eternal ties to an unhappy life forever. Furthermore, a study by the University of San Francisco found women who cannot obtain abortions are more likely to remain in relationships with abusive partners and are more likely to experience domestic abuse than women who can obtain abortions. None of these situations brings benefits to either parent or child and can leave a child feeling cursed for having been born.

What’s the Consequence if Abortion Right is Overturned?
Making abortion illegal is unethical. According to World Health Organization, 30 women die in developed regions from unsafe abortions each year, while in developing regions where abortion access is limited or impossible, 220 women die from unsafe abortions. The data shows that unsafe abortion would cause a dramatic increase in pregnancy-related deaths. Legal abortions allow women to have access to safe abortions. That is, if states become banning abortion, this means the end of safe abortions. Banning abortions will not stop people to end their pregnancies. Meaning that more women are likely to take unsafe abortions that are performed by non-physicians than legal abortions, which will increase mortality and further health complications. In addition, a research study from the University of Colorado Boulder predicted “the annual number of pregnancy-related deaths would increase by 21% overall” if abortions are banned. All of these adverse public health effects will disproportionately impact people of color and others who already face inequality.

Majority of Americans Support Abortion Rights
A new poll released by CNN shows broad support for abortion rights at an all-time high, in line with historical trends and multiple recent polls that show 70% of Americans do not want to overturn abortion rights. Despite these facts, politicians continue to push for an abortion ban and restrictions on access at the state level, in direct opposition to the will of the American people who support access to safe, legal abortion.

Abortion rights are human rights. For medical and personal reasons, it is essential to remember that every human being has freedom over his or her body. Overturning abortion rights will only result in more suffering for women. Therefore access to safe abortion is a necessary aspect of a woman’s bodily autonomy, such a right should be legally protected by the government.


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