A timeline of abortion laws history in America. What could be the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade judgement?
- How many women could this affect?
- Who is likely to be affected the most?
- What could be the consequences?
- History of abortion laws in America
- Politics behind Abortion law
Dark clouds start gripping the American sky after the Supreme Court of States announced a historic but barbaric verdict.
The United States court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade judgment. This judgment constitutionally protected abortion rights for almost 50 years. In one stroke, 36 million American women lost their rights to choose what happens to their bodies.
“The constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representative,” said the US supreme court.
What would it mean in the future without Rode v. Wade’s judgment? How many women could this affect?
This means abortion could now become illegal in at least 22 states. This represents 42% of America’s people of childbearing age. Data say one in four of them get an abortion at one point in their lives. Most of them are unmarried. This could mean that over 36 million women could lose access to abortion.
Who is likely to be affected the most?
· Economically weaker women
· Black women
· Latina teenagers
· Uninsured women
What could be the consequences?
In the so-called land of freedom, a country who lectures others on the human right:
· People who want to get an abortion will have to travel a longer distance. Moreover, wait longer due to stress on clinics in pro-choice states.
· People would be forced to give birth for lack of access.
· Legal abortions could fall by 14%. This could promote the adoption of illegal alternatives for abortion, inviting more health risks and more expenses.
Shortly after this verdict leaked, President Joe Biden clarified his stance by calling it sad for the country and court. He slammed politicians for interfering in decisions that a woman should make.
History of abortion laws in America
The indecisive stake on Abortion law in age-old in America. Here is timeline of abortion law in America.
1800s-Connecticut was the first state to make abortion a criminal offense by punishing anyone who provided or took poison. Anti-abortion rights activist Dr. Horatio Storer is considered responsible for more states criminalizing abortion in the 1800s.
1900s-By the 1900s, abortion was illegal in every state but was varied state by state. In 1921, Margaret Sanger founded what would later become the planned parenthood federation of America.
In the 60s, the equal rights movement included a push to demand more rights for women. In 1967, Colorado became the first state to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk.
In 1971, the ground-breaking court case known as Roe V. Wade was brought in front of the supreme court. In 1973, the supreme court ruled in favour of Roe, and abortion was legalized throughout the United States.
In 1994, president Bill Clinton signed the freedom of access to the clinics act. The act made it a federal crime to obstruct the entrance to a clinic or intimidate women physically.
2000s-In 2003, the partial-birth abortion act ban was signed, prohibiting late-term abortions of a partially delivered foetus.
In 2016 the supreme court ruled on the whole women’s Health v. Hellerstedt case. The final decision ruled that Texas couldn’t restrict abortion services that create an undue burden for women.
On 2 May 2022, a leaked draft opinion indicated the supreme court would strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Their fear became a reality soon after SC revealed its final verdict. The verdict invited protests where hundreds of women gathered outside the Supreme Court. They were camping there for days, as the leaked draft hinted.
Politics behind Abortion law
Not just the Court but politicians of States had also failed them. The landmark judgment had passed 50 years ago. The US Congress could have codified it anytime and turned this court verdict into law. But American politicians failed to do it. They had time to fight wars and invade countries but no time to protect American women’s rights.
A 6-3 majority passed the new verdict. This ruling opens the floodgates for the US to illegalise abortion in at least half of the country. Since the last century, only three countries have tightened their abortion laws, Poland, Salvador, and Nicaragua. But now, the US joined the list.
Let us also clarify that most Americans are still in favour of abortion. Opinion polls say around 60-70 percent favour abortion. Only a minority of people oppose this human right, but, in this case, it was a powerful minority.
Congress can still pass laws to legalize abortion, but for that, you need bipartisan support, meaning republicans and democrats need to join hands. And that is never going to happen. Most republicans are so-called pro-life and so pause any move to legalize abortion.