Em-URGE-ing Voices

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Make Roe Real: A World Without Roe

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January 24, 2014

Thank you to the world of Roe.

It’s been 41 years since the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, making abortions legal in the United States. When talking about Roe, it’s important to remember we are all making efforts to not only make Roe real, but keep Roe a reality. A way to do that is to reflect on what society would look like in a world without the important SCOTUS decision. Lawmakers and legislators around the country are slowly bringing down the pillars to safe and legal abortions. Though it’s legal, anti-choice groups are doing everything they can to restrict access and to put up as many barriers as possible to it. If they continue winning these legislative victories, the court decision might be stripped of all its power and intent.

When thinking about a world without Roe, we have to not only acknowledge our victories these past four decades, but also stay focused on our long-term goals.

The obvious ramification of a Roe overturn would be that abortions would be made illegal in many parts of the United States. Many anti-choice groups argue that Roe is a pointless court ruling now because many states have pre-Roe laws already in their books. However, this would further perpetuate the two-tier system where wealthy patients can afford travelling to states with these laws to receive their services while low-income people are left behind. Even if we criminalize abortions, it doesn’t end abortions altogether. It just increases the amount of unsafe, unsupervised back-alley or bedroom abortions Roe worked to prevent. If abortions were made illegal and people still had them done illegally, what would even be the fair punishment? Higher rates of incarceration? More fines and fees they couldn’t afford in the first place? If Roe were to be overturned, it would create a slippery slope for more invasive laws that police our bodies and decisions.

A world without Roe would also further inequality among queer, youth, and people of color. A large part of the movement is showing the intersectionality of the issue, which involves LGBT folks who need access to safe and affordable abortions. An entire community would continue be to left out of the conversation without Roe. Young people and low-income communities make up a good portion of abortions in the United States and forcing them to be parents and then not receiving social services from the same group rallying against them is a lose-lose situation. Anti-choice groups are pro-birth, but don’t want to help a range of low-income, single, and/or women of color. Women face great inequality without choice and access to these services.

There are a multitude of intersections showing how choice is essential for everyone. We need to look back and be thankful for how far we’ve come. Continuing the movement and reminding ourselves why we do the work we do, while imagining a world without all our hard work. We need to pat ourselves on the back, but keep focused on the bigger picture of a world without Roe.

If you’d like to make a personal or political pledge to help Make Roe Real, go here: http://bit.ly/MakeRoeReal

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