Abortion Rights After Roe
The debate over abortion was always more than it seemed. Advocates for the right to abortion describe themselves as pro-choice, but many women do not believe they have a choice when they terminate a pregnancy. They suffer emotional trauma from rape or incest. They may lack the resources to provide for a child due to poverty. Sometimes the choice is between a mother and an unborn child. For many women Roe was never about individual rights or freedom. Instead, it was far more about dignity, trust, and respect.
Once Roe is officially overturned, many states will enact new laws or put trigger laws into effect. However, most states will carve out exceptions to allow for some legal abortions. Indeed, less than 20% of Americans want abortion outlawed in all circumstances. Common exceptions include the protection of the life of the mother, rape, and incest. Each of these exceptions sound simple, but they are not.
For example, women find their claims of rape routinely met with skepticism. Not too long ago Congress refused to believe allegations from Christine Blasey Ford against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It’s unlikely the application of abortion law will give women the benefit of the doubt even in the case of rape or incest. What happens when a woman wants to terminate the pregnancy, but does not want to press charges? How will abortion law handle victims of marital rape?
The decision to terminate a pregnancy almost always involves complicated circumstances. Very few women treat it simply as a choice. So, nobody should ask for justification for the termination of a pregnancy. Instead, lawmakers should trust women to make the decision on their own. Further limitations on abortion do more than undermine civil liberties or freedom. They violate the dignity and self-respect of women.