Editorial: Is a return to back-alley abortions what this country really wants?

NEW ORLEANS (February 18, 2022) – Nearly 50 years has elapsed since the historic Roe V. Wade case, in which the U.S Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.

The case changed the course of many lives in America as stigma of abortion eased and states had to allow women access. Opponents have been fighting it ever since. Now it seems their efforts are bearing fruit, unfortunately. Some 21 states are poised to immediately ban or restrict access to abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court chooses to overturn or weaken the case of Roe v. Wade.

Abortions are serious and affect women in different ways. Women who get abortions can be mentally scarred because of the thought of getting rid of their unborn child. Women who can’t get abortions could face health issues and/or economic hardships.

The question is: Who gets to choose what happens with a woman’s body? We think each woman should have complete control over their bodies and choose whether or not they want to have a child. And the actions of this conservative Supreme Court bears watching.

Those opposed to abortion claim they are pro-life and want to preserve a human life. They say abortion is murder.

During the Gonzales v. Parenthood v. Carthart case in 2007, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said restrictions on abortions have an impact on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course and to be treated as a citizen.

The topic of abortion has heated up in the South. Last September, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 8 into law, which outlaws abortions at six weeks of gestation even in cases of rape and incest. Furthermore, anyone in the general public can sue a person who HELPS someone get an abortion in the state of Texas! That includes driving the woman to the clinic.

Louisiana has tightened its laws on abortion as well. It allows abortion up to 20 weeks (5 months), but it requires mandatory ultrasounds, state-directed counseling to discourage abortions and a 24-hour waiting period before the procedure be performed.

Alabama doesn’t allow abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy; a law proposing total abortions was struck down in 2019 by federal judges in the state. The Mississippi Supreme Court in Mississippi will have to decide whether bans on abortion before a fetal visibility can be considered constitutional.

Of course, opposition is stratified by political party and religion. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 80 percent of Democrats are pro-choice while 35 percent want abortions to be legal in all or most cases. The Pew Research Center indicated 77 percent of white evangelical Protestants do not support abortions.

Abortions are being debated currently and will continue to be a topic of discussion. Women deserve to use their judgement to decide if they want to keep or lose their unborn child.

(Editor-in-Chief Jorden Hampton wrote this editorial on behalf of the Courtbouillon staff.)