To the many who, like myself, had been following Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the case reaching the Supreme Court which led to the overturning of Roe vs. Wade) these past weeks, we noticed a trajectory of increasingly restrictive decisions against women. Thus, we were not surprised by the ultimate June 24th, 2022 ruling. But we were hurt just the same.
This ruling is dehumanizing, deeply disappointing and is forming jagged cracks in the foundations of trust that all communities are built on. We shouldn’t have to be united in this current anger, we shouldn’t have to scream and protest on the streets with our words directed at politicians who will not listen, and we shouldn’t have to convince the world that our autonomy is our fundamental human right.
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the US has joined just two other countries which have restricted abortion in the 21st century. Comparing this statistic to the fact that roughly 50 countries have increased accessibility to abortions over the past decades, we can see that one of the most politically and economically prominent nations in the world is going back in time.
The consequences of restricting abortion access are multigenerational, compounding generational harm. This will likely increase the incidences of overarching issues like poverty, homelessness, and emotional/psychological trauma. While the world uses lines as borders to form countries and separate populations of people, borders cannot contain the consequences of restricted abortion access for American women. The tentacles of harm are far reaching.
A central issues is that abortion, like many controversial ideas, has become strongly associated with political parties, schools of ideologies and particular communities. This partisan system is inhibiting society’s willingness to understand each other, and instead continues to form a rift over controversial ideas which neither party wishes to cross. It is vital that decision-making areas like politics be held at a distance from topics like abortion so significant and intimately intertwined with a diverse population. If not, we run the risk of further fundamental rights being subject to reconsideration over the beliefs of a few powerful figures.
Lawmakers in favour of banning abortions have stated they are pushing for total restrictions on abortion to “protect fetal life”. It must be noted, however, that an asserted perception on an issue is not the singular correct viewpoint.
Perception is influenced by an individual’s position and point of view, where the same subject (ie. the number 9) could be viewed by different observers who will each report seeing a different subject (ie. viewing 9 from the North looking southwards, one would report seeing 6). While different responses may be given (ie. one viewer seeing 6, the other seeing 9), frames of relativity state that all perspectives are equally valid. So, while certain lawmakers may view banning abortions as necessary, they do not have the right to claim that other “frames of reference”, or viewpoints on this issue, are not valid.
The overturning of Roe vs. Wade due to a Republican-dominated senate demonstrates the importance of citizens, particularly youth, being actively involved in civic activities and continuing to encourage evolution of thought. While our Canadian context maintains a distance between this ruling and our daily lives – Canadian judicial operations and Supreme Court nominations are distinctly different from the American judicial structure – we must not dull the magnitude of this injustice. Every voice, vote and movement holds power.
The recent outpouring of anger and shock from both the female and wider community demonstrates that issues like abortion transcend communities. The diverse community which continues to fight for abortion access is supported by organizations and individual advocates of a plethora of affiliations and identities. While such progressive voices exist, unfortunately they are being drowned out by a select few lawmakers in a position of power they do not fully appreciate the magnitude of.
Take your bans off our bodies.