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Abortion Access in America

Updated: Mar 15

The 2022 overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision trigged abortion bans across the country. This is a bad thing, whether abortion is moral or not. This four-point plan tries to reverse the problem.


Big Picture


Over a year ago, the landmark case Roe v. Wade was overturned. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to obtain an abortion was not protected by the Constitution, and therefore a matter that must be left up to the states. The ethics of abortion are complex, and intelligent, philosophical arguments have been offered from pro-life and pro-choice perspectives. But banning abortion, as a number of states have done since the Dobbs decision, is not the way to go. Without bodily autonomy, women will resort to either self-induced abortions or traveling to a state where abortion remains legal. 




  • This figure depicts the amount of pregnancy-related deaths in relation to an abortion ban. The trend implies that as time passes on, more women will die if the abortion ban remains.  

 

Operative Definitions


  1. Abortion: A medical procedure that permits women to terminate their pregnancy. This procedure is typically performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  2. Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy: Prohibits law enforcement from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures on a suspect. Law enforcement must present a search warrant in order to search a suspect. Roe v. Wade was ruled under this logic. 

  3. Miscarriage: When the fetus/embryo spontaneously dies before the 20th week of the pregnancy. 

  4. Roe v. Wade: Landmark Supreme Court case that granted women the right to obtain an abortion during the first trimester.

  5. Trigger Bans: Restrictive abortion laws that are set to be in effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.


Important Facts and Statistics


  1. In comparison to white women, the likelihood of getting an abortion is nearly 4x higher for Black women and 2x as high for Latinas.

  2. Abortion is currently illegal in 14 states.

  3. 17% of pregnancy-related deaths were caused by self-induced abortions before the passage of Roe v. Wade.

  4. 61% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal all or most of the time.

  5. Maternal mortality rates are three to four times higher for Black women compared to white women.


Four-Point Plan


(1) Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2021. This bill would prohibit states from restricting access to abortion. By banning states from impeding abortion services, women would not have to resort to expensive travel or self-induced abortions.

 

(2) Make abortion more affordable. Past research has demonstrated that the main group who seek abortion care are low-income women and women who already have a family. Carrying the pregnancy to term would cause financial distress and opting for an abortion would be the safest financial move. However, the average cost of an abortion is $600 excluding travel costs and aftercare. This price point is out of many women’s budgets; therefore, costs must be lowered to expand the procedure’s accessibility.


(3) Protect abortion providers. In states that are passing trigger bans, abortion providers may be sentenced to prison time if they perform an abortion or assist a woman in obtaining one. Protecting these providers would not only allow them to continue their medical practice but also reduce the massive influx of women traveling to “safe states” to undergo the procedure.  


(4) Expand the types of qualified providers. By allocating funds to training more healthcare workers, the number of abortion providers would increase exponentially. With more qualified providers, access would become easier as women would not have their procedures extremely delayed.  


Why This Initiative is Important


Whether abortion is right or wrong, abortion bans aren't the answer. Research has demonstrated that restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of abortions, but instead increases the number of abortion-related fatalities. Abortion is healthcare, and without proper access to it, women will die, especially those from low-income communities and communities of color. Many do not have the means to travel to another state to terminate their pregnancy and will resort to perforating their uteruses, ingesting poisonous liquids, or having an unlicensed individual perform the procedure. For women who do have the funds and time to travel to a “safe” state, their abortion may be delayed due to the massive influx of patients that abortion clinics will be receiving now that Roe v. Wade has fallen. 


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


Sources


“Abortion Laws by State.” Center for Reproductive Rights, 25 July 2022, https://reproductiverights.org/maps/abortion-laws-by-state/.


Congress. “H.R.3755 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Women's Health Protection Act of ...” United States Congress, 2022, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3755.


Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “Fourth Amendment.” EPIC, n.d., https://epic.org/issues/privacy-laws/fourth-amendment/


Galston, William A. “Roe v. Wade Overturned despite Public Opinion.” Brookings Institute, 24 June 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/06/24/roe-v-wade-overturned-despite-public-opinion/.


Gold, Rachel Benson, and Guttmacher Institute. “Lessons from before Roe: Will Past Be Prologue?” Guttmacher Institute, 14 Sept. 2018, https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2003/03/lessons-roe-will-past-be-prologue


Lenharo, Mariana. “After Roe v. Wade: US Researchers Warn of What's to Come.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 24 June 2022, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01775-z.


Planned Parenthood. “What Is a Miscarriage?: Causes of Miscarriage.” Planned Parenthood, n.d., https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/miscarriage


Reuters. “Roe v. Wade Ruling Disproportionately Hurts Black Women, Experts Say.” New York Post, New York Post, 27 June 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/06/27/roe-v-wade-ruling-disproportionately-hurts-black-women-experts-say/.



Stevenson, Amanda Jean. “Study Shows an Abortion Ban May Lead to a 21% Increase in Pregnancy-Related Deaths.” Colorado Arts and Sciences, 22 Oct. 2021, https://www.colorado.edu/asmagazine/2021/09/22/study-shows-abortion-ban-may-lead-21-increase-pregnancy-related-deaths

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