In January of 1973, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case was decided in favor of Roe which held that women have the right to abortion without excessive government restriction. The Roe v. Wade ruling states that abortions cannot be banned in the first trimester; second trimester can have restrictions and states can choose to ban third term abortions. Since then, there have been many calls from the Pro-Life community to challenge this case and end abortion in the U.S.
In the past year there have been two important court cases to challenge Roe v. Wade. The first being the Texas Heartbeat Act enacted in September 2021. The law bans abortion after a detected heartbeat at six weeks. This is different from previous state abortion laws, as it is the first abortion law to be enforced by private citizens through civil lawsuits rather than relying on government officials. This enforcement by private citizens makes it easier for citizens to sue facilities or anyone who performs abortions. “It’s not a matter of whether it’s constitutional or not anymore, because the state is not the one enforcing it,” Social Studies teacher Mrs. Jillian Roger said.
The court case that could impact the future of abortion in the U.S. is the Mississippi law. “The Mississippi Abortion law makes abortions illegal after 15 weeks, intentionally one week earlier than the second trimester,” Roger said.
“I do not believe that abortion is okay after any point after conception, but I am very glad that we are beginning to see regulations,” Marian Students for Life club leader, senior Izel Capan said.
In May 2021, the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson, the case regarding the Mississippi abortion law. The Supreme Court will likely hear the case again this June. “Mississippi’s law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks was not a ‘dramatic departure’ from viability, and gave women enough time to make the choice to end their pregnancies,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said.
In a statement to the New York Times, The Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the Jackson Clinic, said “that a reversal of Roe would leave large parts of the south and midwest without access to legal abortions, and preganant women who cannot afford to cross state lines to get a legal abortion would attempt to end their own pregnancies.”
“The difference now is that there is a six person conservative majority on the Supreme Court, that looks like they are willing to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Roger said.
This issue is close to the hearts of many and especially students in the Marian Students for Life Club.
“Everyone has the right to life, as stated in our Constitution. In my eyes, we are all equal, and we all deserve the same chances life has to offer,” Capan said.
Students attended the March for Life on Jan. 29 in Lincoln. Senior Sydney Witkowski attended her fourth march this year.
“I’m disappointed we weren’t able to go to D.C. for the march this year, but I’m so excited to be at the march in Lincoln for a cause that’s important to me,” Witkowski said.
The decision from the Supreme Court awaits and activists on both sides have continued to fight for their cause.