When Americans got wind of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe vs. Wade after a draft opinion was leaked Sunday night, public outrage immediately followed. On Monday, there were protests in Washington condemning the impending decision with demonstrations soon taking place all over the country.
Whether the justices will rescind Roe vs. Wade or not won’t be decided until this summer. The 98-page draft, though, spells out a disdain for the fundamental human right. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito wrote in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Before and during his presidency, Trump went on a crusade to ban abortion by equating the procedure to homicide and utilizing the notion that fetuses are people. He wound up transforming the Supreme Court by appointing three new justices, which gave conservatives a 6-3 majority. The Right’s attack on abortion has happened for years—and it has nothing do with children.
Quite frankly, America doesn’t give a damn about kids. That same ideology—the one that unborn children deserve equal rights—is still being used by conservative lawmakers today. But if anti-abortion legislation stems from wanting women to birth children, how come there is no social infrastructure that supports them in doing so?
Among developed countries, America has the highest maternal mortality rate and according to a report by The Commonwealth Fund: “although a large share of its maternal deaths occur postbirth, the U.S. is the only country not to guarantee access to provider home visits or paid parental leave in the postpartum period.” An abortion ban would disproportionately impact Black women—the group that is 3 times more likely to die during childbirth.
In addition, the 21 states that are most likely to severely restrict or ban abortion if the court overturns Roe vs. Wade are the ones that invest the least in the health and economic stability of expectant mothers and their newborns. Fifteen out of these twenty-one states, including Mississippi and Texas, rank last in the yearly assessment of children’s well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Though inflation has reached a 40-year high and the price of necessities (like gas) has increased by 50% year after year, only six of the 21 anti-abortion states have adopted a state minimum wage higher than the federal minimum of $7.25; the other 29 states without anti-abortion laws have already raised it. Children residing in anti-abortion states are more likely to live in poverty, experience health problems and have lesser access to education.
Child tax credits have been taken away from families in need of monetary assistance and Covid-19 devastated an already unaffordable childcare industry. It’s painfully clear that this country has become obsessed with the notion of child-rearing instead of providing optimal conditions for it.
Senate Republicans, whose agenda consists of a war on voting rights and dismantling the teaching of critical race theory, are more concerned about the draft opinion being leaked and not the unsettling information it contained. The GOP will always do whatever it takes to deepen racial inequality—women’s bodies are simply vehicles to get there.