The year 2023 will mark half a century of legal abortion in the United States. However, Roe v Wade, the landmark abortion decision, may not survive as the Supreme Court might soon overturn it and enable states to criminalize abortion.
The term "abortion" in this essay will refer to the termination of a pregnancy intentionally caused by chemical, mechanical, or surgical means. Before 1973, abortion law remained strictly a state-by-state matter. But on January 23, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation's highest federal court, ruled that a woman's right to an abortion was constitutionally protected by a 7-2 majority. The Supreme Court essentially moved the state issue to the federal level, meaning that states could no longer make abortion a crime. Despite 49 years of this constitutional right and its use by tens of millions, opposition remains. Roe v Wade did not stop state legislatures from attempting to write restrictive regulations. The abortion debate is dichotomized, entrenched, and particularly deep between pro-life advocates, who defend the protection of prenatal life, and pro-choice advocates, who defend the freedom of women to choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. They carried their fight to state legislatures and the federal courts, thus transforming American politics. We will focus on the state of Oklahoma. It borders Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, Texas to the south and west, and New Mexico to the west. Oklahoma is currently categorized politically as conservative, and it is one of the most pro-life US states. A strong majority identifies as pro-life, and lawmakers are determined to pass laws opposing abortion.
[...] The undue burden clause was added to the right to abortion after Planned Parenthood v Casey. The undue burden means that states are prohibited from placing major obstacles in preventing women from obtaining a safe abortion. In other words, the fifty US states may impose various restrictions as long as these do not place an undue burden on the women's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, the decision in Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey established important provisions for both women's rights as well as states' rights. [...]
[...] https://doi.org/10.3917/delib.008.0079 Marty, R. ; Mason P. J. (2019). The End of Roe v. Wade Inside the Rights Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion. Ig Publishing. McNamee, G. Lewis and Ezell, John S. (2021). Oklahoma. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Oklahoma-state Mooney, C. (2000). The decline of federalism and the rise of morality-policy conflict in the united states. Publius, 171-188. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.pubjof.a030059 Munson, Z. [...]
[...] Bush believed that states should have the right to prohibit abortions. The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court to support further limitations on a women's right to have an abortion. He nominated Clarence Thomas, an outspoken critic of Roe v Wade, to the Supreme Court. With Bill Clinton's election, the playing field changed yet again. He nominated Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge Stephen Breyer to Supreme Court, both supporters of abortion rights. It solidified the Roe majority. With bills pending at the federal level to protect access to abortion, the anti-abortion movement's goals of having the Court overturn Roe seemed more remote and unachievable. [...]
[...] pro-choice (Rev. ed.). Prometheus Books. Burns, G. (2005). The moral veto: Framing contraception, abortion, and cultural pluralism in the united states. Cambridge University Press. Coleson, R. (2003). Roe v. Wade: Its Legal Progeny THIRTY YEARS OF SUPREME COURT ABORTION DECISIONS. National Right to Life News, vol no Critchlow, D. T. (1999). Intended consequences: Birth control, abortion, and the federal government in modern america. Oxford University Press. Devins, N. [...]
[...] In addition to this, restrictions on abortion, both at the state and federal levels, have become ubiquitous. If the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v Wade is overturned, abortion rights would be protected in less than half of the United States. We have seen that Oklahoma, one of the most pro-life US states, will likely try to prohibit abortion. Numerous restrictions already make it difficult to access abortion care in this state. On top of this, on many occasions, Oklahoma brought its abortion laws right to the limits of what was allowed under federal law. [...]
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