Photo by Gayatri Malhotra.

Overturning Roe: A Reminder that Women Don’t Matter

With the glitz and opulence of this year’s Met Gala theme – ‘Gilded Glamour’ – it’s easy to forget that America’s Golden Age was only golden for rich white men. For women, this period was characterised by a complete lack of rights. No woman could vote and no woman had agency over her own body. It’s hard to imagine wanting to return to this time, yet the Supreme Court of the ‘freest country in the world’ has written a draft suggesting they’ll try to do just that. 

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, released by POLITICO, openly stated that the Court believed Roe vs Wade should be overturned. Roe vs Wade is the Supreme Court decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to access abortion before 24 weeks. Though this did not guarantee abortion past this period, the decision was crucial to ensuring states could not completely ban abortion. 

While most Americans agree women should be able to access abortions, the American far-right, known to most as the Republican Party, has been very vocal about banning abortion. 13 states have ‘trigger laws’ that would immediately outlaw abortion in all cases, and it is expected that within a few weeks, abortion would be illegal in more than half of American states. Congress could attempt to make abortion legal but previous attempts to do so, even in a Democrat-controlled House, have failed. America looks more like Gilead every day. 

The reasons given for overturning Roe are that it is not in keeping with America’s “history and traditions”. By history and tradition, they don’t mean the traditions of the indigenous population who mostly believe a woman should have the right to make her own decisions concerning her body. They mean the history and traditions of WASP America. A History of control and a tradition of oppression. 

If the child has no chance of survival, the most pro-life situation would be one were at least the mother survives. But the far-right don’t care about that, because they do not care about women.

Yasmin Vince

This is all in the name of Christianity. Pro-life conservatives cite Psalm 139, which states that unborn children are already human beings to God; or Numbers 5, that presents miscarriage, and therefore abortion, a curse for impure women. The extent to which Christianity is used to support enforcing pro-life legislation on women is so great that it is not unreasonable to ask whether Christianity poses a threat to women’s rights in the US.

My answer is no. Whatever you think of religion, it is clear that it is only being used as an excuse here. The Bible contains many passages that would support abortion, including Genesis 2 that states nothing is living until it breathes and Exodus 21 that states miscarriage as a result of violence is not murder. True Christians would not ignore these passages simply because they do not support their opinion. Furthermore, if the pro-life conservative contingent of America wants all law to follow the bible, Leviticus 11 states you cannot touch the skin of a dead pig – say goodbye to American Football. Exodus 35 prohibits working on the Sabbath on pain of death – I hope no conservative Christians need an Amazon package delivered this Sunday. This isn’t about following the word of the Lord, this is about control.

Pro-abortion protest in D.C. Photo by Gayatri Malhotra.

This isn’t even about protecting life. If it were, abortion would be allowed where the mother and child would die without it. If the child has no chance of survival, the most pro-life situation would be one were at least the mother survives. But the far-right don’t care about that, because they do not care about women. The only reason they care about the foetus is because until it is born, it still has a chance of being male. But saying this doesn’t win votes. God does. 

The sad fact is that the argument that God is anti-abortion wins more votes than the fact that criminalising abortion does not stop abortion, it only makes it less safe. Globally, countries that ban abortion have higher abortion rates than those that allow it. Unsafe abortions are the 3rd highest cause of maternal deaths. Restricting abortion is an easy way to kill women. In my opinion, the more pro-life stance is to allow abortion and improve conditions for children so they are better cared for after birth. But what do I know? I’m a woman. My opinion about my body doesn’t matter. 

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