What if Roe V Wade is Overturned?


Written by Samantha Bradley, Features Editor

Roe v. Wade was originally a foundational Supreme Court ruling that took place back in 1970. It started with a lawsuit filed against the District Attorney of Dallas County, challenging a law in Texas strictly prohibiting any and all abortions. The only exception to this being if a doctor signs off that it would save a woman’s life. In a 7-2 decision it was decided that in the first trimester of pregnancy, a state can not regulate an abortion decision under any circumstances. In the second that state can impose its own regulations, and in the third it can be prohibited entirely.

Over fifty years later, this case has recently gained attention again by the Supreme Court. There are currently six republican appointed justices and three democratic appointed justices, meaning the majority rule would most likely vote in favor of anti-abortion laws.

If Roe v. Wade was overturned, these thirteen states would immediately ban abortion entirely: North Dakota, Idaho, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Several more states would be very likely to do the same. 

However, the ban on abortion isn’t the only right that could be taken away if Roe v. Wade is overturned: birth control, emergency contraception, and fertility treatments could become restricted as well. In some states, abortion could even be considered homicide, and women accused of doing so would become a life-long felon. This could create the line between abortions and miscarriages to become blurry, women who are pregnant and miscarry could be wrongfully convicted of “homicide”. Doctors could also be punished and fined if they are caught performing abortions, and those who report them could recieve a reward. 

A dangerous outcome of losing Roe v. Wade could be the return of illegal “back-alley” abortions. These were very common before safe abortions were legal and accessible, it is estimated that there were 200,000 to 1.2 million each year. A shocking fact is the high death toll that took place from these: 1/5th of maternal deaths during this time were from unsafe abortions. Out of fear from the past, many women may find themselves traveling to bordering states for a safe abortion option. 

Although these problems could quickly come back in other parts of the country, Governor Pritzker came out on Tuesday to vow to keep abortion safe in Illinois when he stated, “Let me be clear, no matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court rolls out this summer in regard to Roe V Wade, abortion is safe and legal in Illinois.” 

While most American citizens are opposed to Roe v. Wade being overturned, this may not factor into the Supreme Court decision. Many are not only worried about the rights of the women being lost, but also the uproar this decision will cause. A country already so divided is being yet again challenged that may only further the separation.