Roe v Wade overturned by Supreme Court


The court decision leaves the power to ban or allow abortions in the hands of the states; the right to an abortion remains protected under Oregon law

On Friday, June 24 – less than a week ago - U.S. Supreme Court Justices voted 5 to 4 to overturn the decision made by their predecessors nearly 50 years ago. Since then, national news articles have been cascading down my social media feeds in the form of headlines flaunting descriptions of violence.

“‘If abortions aren’t safe, you aren’t either’ was spray-painted at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier,” read the sub-heading of one article posted by Fox News.

“Rhode Island cop arrested for assault on political opponent at abortion rights rally after Supreme Court Roe ruling,” read the headline on another story, this one by CNBC.

On the Democratic side of the political divide, Roe v. Wade and abortion rights have been considered a provocative symbol of the women’s human rights movement as well as a tool to help thwart gender discrimination. Both advocates and legal activists in support of the cause tend to conflate unfettered access to abortion services with the health and welfare of women.

In a 2004 brief on the subject, the Center for Reproductive Rights out of New York state shared some of its reasons for wanting to promote reproductive rights as a fundamental human right around the world. “Recognizing women’s sexual and reproductive autonomy contradicts long-standing social norms that render women subordinate to men in their families and communities,” the non-profit posited.

On the other side of the aisle, many proponents of Republican ideals view the abortion debate in an entirely different light. Those that prescribe to the “pro-life” camp tend to view abortion as a tragic expression of fear and death. Especially in cases where a fetus is consensually conceived and where it appears that it will be born in good health, there are people that believe terminating a pregnancy is essentially tantamount to the act of ending a life. Although Conservative Christians tend to be associated with the philosophy that abortion services should be limited, being one or the other or both are not mandatory prerequisites for those that prescribe to this line of thinking.

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), available online at www.law.cornell.edu/wex/roe_v_wade_(1973), contains records of the full Roe v. Wade court proceedings that have been formatted into text. Within the Institute’s summary of the 1973 court proceedings is a description of the original legal parameters that had to be instituted across the country as a result of the original Roe decision. The description reads as follows:

“During the first trimester, the decision to terminate the pregnancy was solely at the discretion of the woman. After the first trimester, the state could 'regulate procedure.' During the second trimester, the state could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother’s health. After the second trimester, the fetus became viable, and the state could regulate or outlaw abortions in the interest of the potential life except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

In response to the landmark decision made by SCOTUS on June 24 to overturn Roe v. Wade, a modest gathering of protestors could be seen in the downtown area of Cottage Grove holding signs that displayed messages supporting pro-choice themes. Although an evening Eugene protest led to the arrest of 10 people, according to a statement released by Eugene Police Department, earlier in the day, proponents of reproductive rights peacefully rallied in front of the Federal Building to voice their disapproval of the historical SCOTUS move.

According to KLCC reporter Tiffany Eckert, the crowd in attendance “grew to an estimated 800 to 1,000 people over the duration of the event.” Congressional candidate, Val Hoyle, spoke to the crowd, warning them that the future of other rights closely held by Democrats (such as gay marriage) may also be uncertain.

Legal experts tend to disagree with Hoyle’s assumption that people will be seeing additional reversals ruling reversals of this magnitude in the future.

While it might seem cruel or unfair to dispense with a ruling that has prevailed in this country for 50 years, it is essentially being subjected to the processes upheld by a democratic republic: the people’s elected representatives can now draft bills that address the fine details of the matter.

In an explanation of the Court’s reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Alito wrote that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

"That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ’implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

Justice Alito added, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

In anticipation of the Supreme Court decision, Oregon lawmakers enshrined the state's abortion laws in the state constitution in order to safeguard them.

The state retains what some might perceive to be among the most liberal abortion laws in the country and what others might call some of the most progressive.

The State of Oregon allows access to late-term abortion and government-funded services.

Earlier this year, the state legislature allocated $15 mil. during the 2022 legislative session for the state’s Reproductive Equity Fund (HB 5202). Money from this fund is slated to be used to help women that may not be able to secure an abortion procedure in their home state.

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