On June 24th, 2022 the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, sparking controversy throughout the country. Both opposition and support to the ruling were demonstrated by protesters.
Roe v. Wade is a lawsuit from January of 1970 filed by a pregnant woman using the psuedonym Jane Roe against Dallas County District attorney Henry Wade. Roe’s attorney’s argued that Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional. Abortion at the time of the case was illegal, making it a crime to receive or perform an abortion unless it was a risk of life for the mother. Wade argued that at 2the interest of the state, prenatal life must be protected and that a fetus is recognized as a person under the 14th Amendment.
As the case came to a close, the Supreme Court decided that under the Fourteenth Amendment, the right to privacy includes control over pregnancy as it includes many additional risks if forced. The Court also added that an unborn child has not been recognized as a whole person under law, regardless of the views of different religions or medical practices. Overall, the states have limited authority over the regulations of abortion, but still have some jurisdiction depending on how far along the pregnancy is.
While there was not much public uproar when the case was closed, the topic of abortion continued to remain a political argument and still does to this day.
Almost 50 years later, the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving back the authority to regulate abortion by the State. While some states left the decision to voters, others quickly reinstated that abortion is illegal unless life-threatening and/or a result of sexual assault. The states that chose to return to the original illegalization of abortion are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah. All other states have abortion legalized until 6 to 25 weeks after fertilization. Some states have no specific laws or have fully legalized abortion with protection of medical professionals performing the procedures.
Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, there was a widespread reaction from people around the country. Some say it is a step forward for America, while others say it is a step back.
Planned Parenthood, a well known organization known to aide women if they choose to have an abortion, posted an article on their website addressing the situation.
“We no longer have the right to control our bodies and futures or make our own personal health care decisions,” writes Kendall from Planned Parenthood. “This will fuel the efforts of lawmakers to ban abortion across the country.”
People all over are lining up at government offices to protest the Supreme Court, arguing that abortion is a right and part of healthcare. Others volunteer as escorts for women seeking the procedure to avoid harassment from those in favor of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Those who favor the overturning have also taken to protesting at aabortion clinics to persuade women out of the decision to protect the potential life of the unborn fetus.
“Our fight has just begun. History is being made. Which side will you join? The side of life or death?” Tweets Lila Rose, a Pro-Life Activist.
Just months later, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is still in its early stages. However, while many changes have been made, protests have continued to go on and both sides have remained heavily passionate on the topic.
As for the state of Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has vowed to veto anything that would prevent Pennsylvania from being a sanctuary state and has already vetoed three bills since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, this could soon change as Doug Mastriano and Josh Shapiro are both candidates in the Pennsylvania Governor’s race which is being held in November.
Doug Mastriano of the Republican party has strong views on abortion and opposes it under all circumstances. Josh Shapiro is in favor of abortion rights and aims to maintain the current law which allows abortion up to 24 weeks after conception.
It is unclear what the circumstances will be come November, but Roe v. Wade will continue to greatly affect not only Pennsylvania but the United States in the months to come.