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Roe vs Wade was always at risk

US Supreme Court, Washington D.C
Image: iStock

Quick note: This post isn‘t about my views on abortion. Instead, I want to focus on the possible repercussions.

This week, Politico revealed leaked documents that confirmed SCOTUS judges’ plans to overturn Roe v Wade. Next month, SCOTUS will make the final ruling.

This will take abortion legislation away from Federal law and back to the States.

At least twenty States will criminalise abortion outright if Roe v Wade is overturned. It’s speculated that Texas will push forward snap legislation to outlaw abortion in most circumstances.

1973 ruling

In January 1973, a large majority of Supreme Court judges (7 – 2) ruled to restrict states’ ability to outlaw abortion.

This was in response to a 1970 court case, ‘Jane Roe’ (real name, Norma McCorvey) and Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade.

The Supreme Court disagreed with McCorvey’s demand to exclusive abortion rights, but agreed that a woman’s right to choose, to a degree, was in line with the Fourteenth Amendment. At the time, Justice Harry A Blackmun wrote:

We… conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

Justice Harry A Blackmun

Dobbs vs Jackson: the trigger

Last year, Dobbs vs Jackson challenged. Mississippi’s strong abortion restrictions.

Jackson Women’s Health Organisation argued the unconstitutionality of the Gestational Age Act. The 2018 Act criminalised abortions after fifteen weeks. Medical emergencies and foetal abnormalities were the only exceptions.

This contrasted from Roe vs Wade‘s stance that abortions can be performed for up to twenty – four weeks without State interference.

The US District Court ruled in Jackson Women’s Health Organisation’s favour. The law was ruled unconstitutional and had to cease.

Pro choice protest where a protester holds sign: “Keep abortion legal”
Image: iStock

What other rights are at risk?

If Roe vs Wade is overturned, then what else can be overturned?

Commentators have speculated that same – sex marriage and even interracial marriage could be up for scrutiny.

Personally, I highly doubt that interracial marriage will be attacked. I mean it’s 2022. People realise that people can marry each other regardless of race, yeah?

In contrast, I think Obgerfell vs Hodges is vulnerable.

I remember when news came out that SCOTUS granted same – sex marriage across all fifty states. People, (including me), put a rainbow filter on Facebook profile pictures.

However, not everyone was celebrating. Conservative commentators slammed the ruling, arguing that marriage was not a constitutional right. Not surprisingly, the same commentators hyperventilated when Australia was in the full throws of debate too. But I digress.

Same – sex marriage has also clashed with religious freedom. The one case that comes to mind was Kim Davis, a marriage clerk who was jailed after refusing marriage licenses to same – sex couples.

Owners of wedding cake businesses claimed that they faced hefty fines after refusing to make a wedding cake that a same – sex couple requested.

Given that SCOTUS has a conservative majority, it may be a nervous wait and see. From Australia, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for LGBTQ+ Americans that Obgerfell vs Hodges isn’t overturned.

Only time will tell what will happen in the US. Things can massively change for a lot of people.

What do you think? Do you think Roe v Wade will have repercussions on other rights? Let me know your thoughts.

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By Sara Harnetty

I'm a student. Interested in current events, music and various issues.

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