Looking back: Roe V. Wade turmoil

Image via UN News

Roe v. Wade, a landmark piece of legislation that ruled abortions were a federal right, was overturned on June 24, 2022, by a Supreme Court ruling of 5-4. This verdict dismantled about 50 years of legal protection for women across the U.S. and gave individual states the ability to allow, curtail, or completely ban abortions. 

Roe v. Wade, a 1973 case, established that women could choose to have an abortion until the fetus was viable, something that occurs between 24 and 28 weeks after conception. This right was based on the due process clause in the 14th amendment, which states the right to privacy. 

Protests erupted across the country in response to the repeal, with approximately 10,000 people gathering in the U.S. Capital and marching outside the White House, chanting “We won’t go back.” Some demonstrators tied their wrists to the White House fence, something that could warrant an arrest. 

Protester and attorney Lauren Pierce said to BBC news, “There’s nothing, to me, more worth fighting for than this cause – our fundamental right to have bodily autonomy,” she said. “If that means taking up space and getting arrested then I think it’s worth it.”

Approximately 45 Fairfax County Public Schools organized and participated in a county-wide walkout on Monday, May 9th, after a leaked draft revealed the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Over 1,000 students and teachers participated, wearing green to demonstrate support for abortions, and chanting phrases like “My body, my choice.”

While some protested, others celebrated the new legislation. Speaking to Fox news, former U.S. Representative for Texas, Mayra Flores, stated, “Honestly, this is a dream come true for me, for South Texas. In South Texas, we’re pro-life — somos pro-vida — so this was a big win for us and South Texas, but also for our country.”

Following the overturn of Roe, individual states were given the right to determine their own legislation surrounding abortions. The new regulations enforced in each state range from no restrictions, like Oregon, to being banned, as it is now in Texas. Other states are in between, allowing legal abortions until viability, or allowing them until the beginning of the third trimester. 

The controversies surrounding abortions will continue to be prevelant in the lives of Americans, with some traveling across state borders to gain access to something that was once considered a right for women across the country.