Are we regressing as a society?
C/O Colin Lloyd (Unsplash)
The overturning of Roe v. Wade sets a dangerous precedent for our society
As you probably know, on June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade. This decision effectively took away an individual’s right to an abortion in the US and cleared the way for individual states in the country to impose further bans and limitations on the procedure.
In the weeks since the court’s decision was announced, I’ve been reading about Roe obsessively, falling down rabbit holes of articles and videos as I try to understand not only what happened and what this means, but also how it happened.
Because it’s not an exaggeration to say this changes everything and I still can’t quite wrap my head around how we arrived here. Here, where instead of tackling the issues in front of us, like the climate crisis, we are returning to decisions — to human rights — we acknowledged and agreed on decades ago. Here, where the work and the world so many women, people of colour, queer folk and many others fought so hard for is being pulled apart at its foundations. Why are we retreading old ground instead of moving forward?
There are going to be far reaching consequences to this regression; not just in the United States and not just for individuals with uteruses.
SCOTUS has set a very dangerous precedent with this decision, not only for rights in the US but also for rights around the world. They have shown that courts and lawmakers not only can but are also willing to reverse and rewrite these landmark moments, these hard won victories. SCOTUS have already made it clear they intend to go after gay rights, the right to contraception and even interracial marriage.
And if SCOTUS does that, what’s to stop courts and lawmakers around the world, even in Canada, from doing the same?
I want to make something extremely clear though — the decision to overturn Roe is not the result of a broken system. Their system is not broken. It was flawed to begin with because it was built to serve only a certain kind of people – cisgendered white, heterosexual men – and it is continuing to serve these people.
These people who have little to no understanding of reproductive health or the female body, nor the experiences of women, people of colour and queer folk and never mind the experiences of those at the intersections of these identities.
This lack of understanding is clear in the laws they’re creating and supporting. For example, the Texas Heartbeat Act, which took effect in Sept. 2021, bans abortion after a heart beat has been detected, which typically occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy. Six weeks pregnant though, is two weeks late for one’s period and there are a multitude of reasons one might be late for their period, including stress and certain health issues. The window to seek an abortion is so narrow and now (as of July 13) with the overturning of Roe, abortion is banned entirely in Texas.
This is why we need more women, more people of colour, more queer folk in positions of power. Because they have the experience and the understanding to create effective legislation that supports their own communities, to build stronger, better systems that serve these communities instead of leaving them behind.
But looking around me, this moment is full of examples of how we are moving backwards beyond just the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade: the homophobic sentiments and attacks on the queer community these past few weeks, SCOTUS also voting to limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency during a climate emergency, the trucker convoy returning to Ottawa and so many more.
This year it’s important to me the Silhouette covers how issues, big and small, are affecting our community. We are going to be seeing the consequences of the decision to overturn Roe for a long time and we at the Silhouette remain committed to covering these stories and informing you about how they are affecting our community here at home.