The death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this past Friday was an unexpected loss to many. Her last recorded words are quoted as, “My most fervent wish is that I not be replaced until a new President is installed.”
This past Saturday, President Donald Trump announced that he will be making the decision for a new Supreme Court Justice to take her place. He did not provide a set date, but said it will happen, “very soon.” He hinted that the new Justice may possibly be a woman, while many of the Republican senators have continued to push for senator Mitch McConnell.
The loss of Justice Ginsburg’s votes brings the Supreme Court’s vote to 5-4 with a conservative majority. If President Trump chooses a new replacement to the Supreme Court, this would create an imbalance of votes in the Court which would give more power to the conservatives. The addition of a conservative leader to the Supreme Court can mean both an end or drastic change to many liberal and democratic policies, abortion laws being one of them.
Roe v. Wade was a decision in which the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without any excessive government restriction under the 14th Amendment.
The decision of Roe v. Wade was heavily supported by Justice Ginsburg and without her influence this constitutional right could possibly be removed. Attorney Anna Lashley tells NPR’s Sarah McCammon, “I’m terrified for women in this country. I’m very concerned about what it will mean for Roe v. Wade going forward. I’m worried that other people aren’t going to be able to take up the fight that she did for us.”
The decision to make abortions illegal will not halt the action of them, just make safe abortions non-acessible. Unplanned pregnancies will continue to occur and women who need abortions will continue to get them, but it will no longer be done safely.
Senior researcher, Margaret Wurth of Human Rights Watch, has researched and observed how countries function with no access to abortions. She states, “When abortion is heavily restricted or banned, women from poor, rural and marginalized communities suffer most, as they may not be able to afford to travel to places where abortion is legal, or pay what it costs.”
Wurth has witnessed women receive jail sentences for miscarriages, listened to young girls who are victims of sexual assault be denied an abortion, and has been a voice for women who have died from childbirth after being denied the option to abort.
When asking biology major, Daisy Tlaseca what America will look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned, she states, “It would seem to other countries as if the United States is taking steps backwards considering all the people who fought for this to be passed in the first place. It would seem to them that the United States is ignorant to the sexual health needs of women and it would look as though it is just a way to restrict and control women, something that the United States often criticizes other countries for.” When asking history major, Leslie Arita, she chimes in with, “The U.S. is taking a step back into history. It is kind of embarrassing that a country that preaches itself on self autonomy but is taking a woman’s right to her own body.”
Without Ginsburg’s solid stance and vote on the issue and an opening for the Supreme Court that needs to be filled, the issue on abortion and women’s reproductive rights is on the line and will affect thousands of women across the United States.