A SCOTUS In Retrograde


Kellie Gimpel, Writer

The potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that established the federal right to abortions without excessive government restriction, has brought forth immense tenseness and anxiety for the American people. Even those not interested in astrology have probably noticed that the Court, like Mercury, appears to be moving in backward steps, given their recent proceedings. The current balance between conservative and liberal judges sits at a 6-3 split, with a clear preference for judicial restraint over judicial activism. 

Therefore, one would assume that this Court would let past precedents stand alone, justly protected and unexposed to modern political unrest and division. However, the reason for this review stems from the idea that this case was never one for the Court to decide, as such a right was apparently never alluded to in any part of the Constitution. This would imply that the “due process” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has never protected fair treatment and respect of an individual’s rights under the judiciary, as judges have so famously referenced it to be capable of. Keep in mind, it’s not easy to overturn such an important and frequently-utilized decision; Roe v. Wade reinforced the idea that Americans have a right to privacy, a reasoning that has been used in support of other issues like gay and interracial marriage. Overturning Roe would certainly satisfy former President Donald Trump, who appointed conservative judges with the intent of causing immense change from the judiciary; at the same time, Overturning Roe also neglects the nearly two-thirds of Americans who oppose the change, according to a recent NBC News poll. 

Part of the percentage who oppose the overturning of Roe includes those who abortion has personally affected, along with those with reproductive anatomy who understand the weight of conceiving and bearing a child. It includes those who relied on their right to an abortion to save their own lives, victims of rape and incest, and those familiar with the torturous methods often implemented in nonsurgical abortions. Most importantly, a large part of this group is composed of people who understand the absolute necessity of a fair access to safe abortion and the right to choose. 

Overturning Roe endangers more living people than it does protect any unborn bodies. If this infringement of rights sets a new precedent, who’s to say what other medical and personal rights our government could possibly impede upon under the name of “justice”? 

Our Founding Fathers took their time crafting our Constitution to ensure that the rights they could not foresee being such divisive matters would still be protected under their written word. How could they anticipate that the ‘rights of the unborn’ would be a topic of such importance that it needed a specific reference? If upcoming decisions continue to reflect the kind of judicial belief that infringes on the fundamental rights of Americans, it will be, for lack of a better word, an interesting term ahead.