An protestor holds up a sign advocating for the right to an abortion. Friday, June 24, 2022.

For as long as I have been politically aware enough to understand the implications of laws that are proposed or passed, I have known that a woman’s right to a safe abortion has been at stake. I can remember the barrage of legislation constantly proposed, some even passed, that made it nearly impossible to receive a safe abortion—challenging the protections guaranteed by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.  

As of June 24, the United States Supreme Court has officially stripped citizens of the right to a safe abortion as protected under the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Those who might find themselves in need of this necessary health care will be forced to travel to other states if they are residing in one that outlaws the procedure. In his statement regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Gov. Bill Lee made sure to mention the “heartfelt” praying he’s done while hoping that one day the power to control abortion would return to the state.

While this decision is devastating to many people across the country, it is only a cog in the machine of striking down laws and supreme court decisions that have aimed to protect the most marginalized groups in our country. The highest court in the land is no longer balanced or nonpartisan, as it was once intended to be. Truthfully, this has been the case for a while, but we as a country are now facing the consequences of this fact. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated in his opinion “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell.” Those three decisions established the right to contraceptives for married couples, the right for same-sex individuals to engage in consensual sex and the requirement that states recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, “more than 52% of all rape/sexual assault victims were females younger than 25.” This fact alone means that the constriction of abortion access could be detrimental to this demographic, which also happens to encompass many college students. If more laws and rights are left to the states instead of being federally protected, who’s to say that access to birth control, contraceptives, etc. are not going to be at risk?

As a woman in college, this is a pivotal moment that now has me, and many of my peers, questioning what our future holds. Will our children have fewer rights than we once did? What hoops will we be forced to jump through to access basic health care? And how soon–and in how many different ways–will other rights be threatened or taken? 

To the men and women celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I hope that someone near you reveals how important access to safe abortions was for them. I hope you see how important the right to choose was for that person and how their life wouldn’t be the way it is had they not had the right to choose. And I must mention that choosing to continue a pregnancy is a choice in itself–a choice just as valid and necessary as choosing to terminate a pregnancy. 

With all of this said, it is evident to me that pro-life lawmakers will still do everything in their power to criminalize abortion, while ensuring the death penalty stays intact. Additionally, school children and teachers should still be wary that the next mass shooting might be before their very eyes. But for now, these lawmakers rest assured knowing women are subjugated and unborn fetuses are the most valued lives.


A summary of Clarence Thomas’s comments on the Roe v. Wade decision: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/24/roe-v-wade-supreme-court-justice-thomas-says-gay-rights-rulings-open-to-be-tossed.html

U.S. D.O.J. Bureau of Justice Statistics: https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/ascii/APVSVC.TXT

Gov. Bill Lee’s statement on the Roe v. Wade decision: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2022/6/24/gov--bill-lee-statement-on-dobbs-ruling.html

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