‘America the Free’ to ‘America the Free-ish’: The overturn of Roe v. Wade

On June 24, the United States Supreme Court voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. As the ramifications of this decision set in, Americans digest what this change means to their fundamental rights. This article was written by: Rayna Recht

The United States Supreme Court recently voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Within a brief period, this decision has taken an immediate toll on the lives of many Americans. People who have the ability to become pregnant fear the possibility of the social, financial, and health-related consequences that this ruling could inflict upon them. Doctors and physicians face scrutiny and threats of criminal liability for performing certain procedures, including the necessary treatment for ectopic pregnancies and the potential prohibition of in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

As people digest this change to their constitutional rights, the country is seeing a shift in many Americans’ perspectives, including plans for the future. Since the overturn, America is seeing greater student interest in studying abroad and a louder calling for citizens to practice their right to vote in upcoming elections. Even more, the Supreme Court’s action invoked the fear of a ripple effect for reversing other social issues, such as access to birth control or same-sex marriage.

Below, you will find two organizations that advocate for access to abortion and oppose any bans that limit this freedom in many communities, including those marginalized.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice (NLIRH) is a health and reproductive rights organization that works to protect the fundamental rights to reproductive health for Latinas, their families, and their communities. The organization utilizes public education, policy advocacy, and community mobilization to support the Latina population in the U.S.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation is a nonprofit organization that advocates for access to birth control and parental leave, the right to have an abortion, and protection against pregnancy discrimination. NARAL works at the state level to educate and promote progressive policies to strike back against harmful restrictions on reproductive rights.

Eight states have already banned abortions, with few exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother’s health. Currently, nine states have temporary blocks on the ban on abortions, but, unfortunately, these blocks are not expected to hold for long. Four other states are also enforcing a gestational limit, restricting the point in pregnancy when an abortion is considered legal versus illegal. These state-wide bans deny about 40 million women of reproductive age the right to an abortion.

 Before this overturn, the U.S. was already suffering from high maternal mortality rates compared to other industrialized countries. In fact, in 2020, the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, while other developed countries like Australia and Canada were only 4.7 and 8.4 per 100,000 live births (Source). With so many states enacting bans, the U.S. is expected to see these rates increase dramatically in the near future.

Marginalized communities are also expected to suffer the consequences to an even more detrimental extent than other populations. The maternal mortality rate for black women in the U.S. is 2.9 times higher than that of white women, and there is an estimated 33% increase in pregnancy-related deaths for black women in the event of a total abortion ban throughout the country. 

With your support, we can keep fighting for our fundamental rights and stop the U.S. from transitioning from America the Free to America the Free-ish.

This article was written by: Rayna Recht

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