Our Fight for Abortion Rights


Recently women and men across the nation have turned on their televisions and opened their newspapers to headlines such as this one from the New York Times:  Draft Supreme Court Opinion Would Overturn Abortion Decision. This breaking news quickly gained national attention, and led to strong reactions from both pro- life and pro- choice activists, as it showed that a majority of the Supreme Court justices support overturning Roe v. Wade. This especially angered many of the pro- choice group as this ruling would essentially remove a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive choices, and lead to new, severe restrictions on access to abortion services. In fact, 13 states currently have what are known as “trigger laws,”  which will immediately ban or severely restrict abortion if Roe v Wade is overturned. As a woman this has angered me, as I feel I am witnessing first- hand a repeat of what women have had to fight for continuously in our nation’s history. Indeed, many women’s rights activists fear that a dangerous cycle in history is repeating itself, as patriarchal forces try to control what women can do with their bodies. Across the country, thousands of women are experiencing a bundle of emotions: anger, worry, anxiety, deception, and a feeling of being invaded. I, along with many other women, believe that now is the time to stand up again against the forces of patriarchy,  and show everyone that we have even more power and strength than ever before. 

Because this is an issue I feel strongly about, I decided to do further research into the histoy of women’s fight for abortion rights in my RHI class. I discovered that before access to legal, safe abortion serives, a scary number of self harm incidents, injuries, and fatalities occured due to unsafe actions on unwanted pregnancies. In the 19th century women would poison themselves, beat their own stomachs, and undergo unsanitary procedures to try to end unwanted pregnancies. In the year of 1930, almost 3,000 women were taken from a maternal death. 

However, all this began to change as women’s rights activists raised their voices in protest and began to take action to provide resources and aid to women. The first major advance was the birth control pill, which allowed women to have a form of protection against unwanted conception. The pill was popularized and made accessible by Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood as the first birth control clinic in 1916. For many who were unable to gain access to this pill, women’s groups were created to allow a space for resources, connection to doctors, and abortion services. One important group was the Jane Collective which was an underground abortion service facility that originated in 1969. NARAL Pro- Choice America was founded in 1969 and specialized in opposing restrictions on abortion and ending pregnancy discrimination. These groups helped thousands of women and played a major role in the fight for reproductive freedom. In 1973, the Supreme Court determined that access to reproductive care, including abortion, was a fundamental constitutional right. This decision, called Roe v Wade, marked a huge victory for women’s rights across the country. As we can see, women across multiple generations were forced to fight against those in power in order to gain the rights that our generation of women have today. Now, these rights are once again under threat. Perhaps what upsets me the most is he fact that revoking our rights to abortion services will not stop us from getting abortions, it just prevents us from gaining access to safe ones. This will cause a breaking point in our country because women will be desperate and mentally empty without clear knowledge of what to do to prevent or halt unwanted pregnancies. 

For me it has always been a simple truth and fact that no one should have to fear or be controlled by others. These men in power think they can stop us; we will still do as we please for it is our constitutional right and our control on our bodies. Those in power are foolish for thinking they can get in the way of the rights we desire once and for all. The support will be larger than ever before. We will forever continue to fight until it is right. 


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Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash