Fight for reproductive rights has just begun

Aneeqa Khan/YJI

SYDNEY – The fall of abortion rights in the United States leaves only one question, are we going back in time?

Most of us thought that time machines don’t exist but after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, maybe we should think again. 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in America, making the procedure vastly more accessible.

From 1973 onward, anti-abortion forces have tried to undercut Roe v. Wade. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment prohibited governments from spending money on abortions unless the pregnancy was brought about by rape or incest or was a threat to the woman’s life.

These obstructions are bound to happen with any law, but the Supreme Court’s extreme reaction completely overruled Roe v. Wade. It means that half of the states in America will completely ban it. 

Writing from Australia, this issue doesn’t directly impact me as it is still legal to get an abortion here.

But this is a major step backwards for feminism and many felt the sting. After the ruling, people took to the streets, holding signs that said, ‘This is not fiction’ and ‘Abortion is a health care and health care is a human right.’ 

It is truly scary how quickly we can shift as a society and how quickly women’s rights are taken away. Within a heartbeat, America’s highest court swept 52 years of effort away and we are back at the starting gate feeling more exhausted and helpless than ever before. 

Abortion is a right, not a privilege. Whether it is legal or illegal, women will continue to do it.

A 2017 report by the World Health Organization reported that 25 million unsafe abortions occurred between 2010 and 2014 worldwide.  The number represents 45% of all abortions, the WHO said.

That is absolutely terrifying. 

“Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away. It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor + marginalized,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on June 24, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. “People will die because of this decision. And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America.”

Her powerful words hold nothing but the truth. Yet is disgusting and sadistic how politicians who rule these countries cannot see the truth and instead blind themselves with their own religious and conservative ideologies. 

I’ve found myself in arguments about abortion and learned that people have a lot to say but never really listen. Abortion should never be about what society thinks but instead what is best for a woman. We should all have the ability to choose, so why is it so easy to strip women of that choice? 

There is not much that we can do but protest and hope that society finally opens its ears and minds and listens to the needs and wants of half of its population.

Women fought for and continue fighting for abortion, which is an intense and very exhausting battle. We saw that clearly as news headlines filled our screens stating that in fact our body was not our choice and that the fight was not over yet – it has just begun.

Aneeqa Khan is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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