To Roe, With Love

Roe v. Wade (1972), overturned after 50 years. Thanks to the leaked majority opinion draft, we saw this coming, but the punch still lands as hard. As a law student, I want to put out there what I know about the implications for what this means regarding abortions and fundamental rights, as well as the moral implications for those who rejoice todays news.


Abortion is not illegal in the United States as this decision is passed. Instead, it finds that the right to access abortion is not a fundamental right, leaving the legislatures–both state and federal–to have the power to make laws restricting and prohibiting abortion access. This isn’t a sliver of hope, however, because so many states, especially in the bible belt, have already enacted such laws in anticipation of this outcome.

Long story short: the state you live matters as to your access to safe and legal abortions.


One of the standout lines from the leaked opinion was “Abortion is never mentioned in the constitution,” and of course it’s not. WOMEN aren’t even mentioned in the constitution. It does, however, talk about the extensive rights of slave owners.

In a short summary, the way abortion came to be a fundamental right was through substantive due process, via the due process clause under the 14th Amendment: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” That liberty is the gate to incorporating fundamental rights into constitutional law. This includes the right to marry (Loving v. Virginia), the right to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), the right to not be sterilized by the government while incarcerated (though you don’t have this right if the government finds you mentally unfit *cough cough* eugenics), the right to make parental decisions, the right to refuse medical treatment, etc.

With substantive due process comes the critique about its discretionary nature. Justices 50 years ago set precedent that abortion was a fundamental right, subject to strict scrutiny, meaning the government must have a compelling interest and enact the means to that interest in the least burdensome way to achieve that purpose; justices today decided to throw out precedent, demote abortion from a fundamental right, and make it subject to rational basis, in which the government can enact any law as long as the law is achieving any purpose not in contrast with the Constitution.

Today’s decision is concerning because we cannot predict the future of substantive due process. And we do not know what else the Court will strike down to be no longer fundamental. Law makers, both federal and state, have discussed with the media their intentions to ban morning-after pills, birth control, and other contraceptives. These old white men in power, and the women who stand behind them, will not stop at abortion. The alarms for almost any and every fundamental right should be ringing.


Turn to social media today, and you’ll see white Christian men posting with rejoice. They’ll praise the decision because, in the name of Jesus, the babies have been saved. But never will any of these people evaluate the cost. People suffer, continuously, at the society present today, and these people look at the meek, the poor, the lost, and tell them to pray. Jesus may have prayed but he also acted to change the lives of those he saw struggle.

And I find it sad and frustrating, because the narrow-minded scope of those who celebrate a limitation of rights are the ones who’ve had little or no struggle obtaining rights in this country. They can rejoice, because abortions are not procedures for the anatomy of men. A man can post on his instagram story that “we need to save the babies” because he will never have to bring a child into this world through his body. He won’t suffer the life long effects of child birth, he won’t risk death for nine months (because yes, pregnancy is still dangerous, especially for women of color).

I feel even more frustrated because babies are only babies for so little time. Soon they become children and then teens and then adults, and some of the babies born because of a lack of access to abortions will be Black, Brown, LGBTQ+, etc. Those rejoicing for the babies today will not support these babies when they come to be their own individual. Additionally, as a life-long Catholic, I’ve rarely seen these religious efforts to end abortion do anything to change the societal flaws like lack of access to prenatal care, the EXPENSES that are ever-present to give birth in a hospital, the decay of our foster system, the crumbling of our public school systems, the discrimination against married women of childbearing age in the work place, lack of paternal leave from work, the barriers that prevent individuals and families from getting out of poverty, and every other part of society that makes it so difficult to stay afloat if you have a child when you are not ready for it.

“Adoption is always an option,” I BEG you to do your research about adoptions in the United States. Also, why is it that everyone who says this has never actually adopted a child?

If you want to prove to me that making abortions illegal isn’t just a check on your “oppress women under the guise of Christianity” checklist, get your ass up and work to change society.

It’s so easy to get behind the pro-life stance as a Christian because you don’t have to reconcile with your place when it comes to the unborn. Rather, when it comes to people, people who’ve lived and hurt in this world, you have to dig into your true goodness forgive them and maybe to find that you may be a part of what is oppressing them, and no amount of passively posted instagram stories and tweets can change that. I pray for you to change and open your heart to all of humanity, beyond just the sinless.


Actually, they do not deserve my time. Who does is Anita Hill, who testified at the Senate confirmation hearing about the sexual harassment she faced at the hands of Justice Thomas, and the Senate majority in 1977 seemed not to care about the implications of having a raging misogynist on the Highest Court in the Land. He was of the majority opinion today.


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