Campus Ideologies: Three student parties take on abortion

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Rowan's Political parties' logos. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

Rowan Progressives

On June 24, 2022, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution “does not confer a right to abortion,” deciding that “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” This decision to overturn “Roe v. Wade” was irresponsible at best, and morally bankrupt at worst. “The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” decision represents a concerning backsliding of our allegedly “democratic” institutions, which once again fail to protect the people it claims to act in the best interest of. 

With the new ruling making it so that each state is left to determine its abortion regulations, the negative effects of “Dobbs” will disproportionately fall on women from marginalized communities who may not necessarily be able to afford to travel to another state for abortion access. Over 50% of women who get abortions are poor, and an often-cited reason why they get abortions is that they cannot afford the living expenses of raising a child. Upward mobility and getting out of poverty are already difficult— having a kid makes it almost impossible. Overturning “Roe v. Wade” reinforces existing inequities, and serves to keep marginalized communities entrenched in a cycle of poverty and discrimination.

One of the most critical aspects of this ruling is also the fact that SCOTUS declared that there are no implicit rights in our Constitution and that only explicit rights can be enforced. The overturning of “Roe v. Wade” doesn’t just carry implications for abortion access but also extends to privacy and confidentiality in medical decisions. Not only does this decision affect reproductive justice across the country, but also holds massive implications for other previously settled freedoms involving bodily autonomy, familial relationships, and more.

Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion that called for the Court to consider overturning the right to contraception, same-sex marriage, and privacy in the bedroom— indicating a dangerous precedent under which many rulings that protected Americans’ fundamental privacy, due process, and equal protection rights could now be tossed aside and discarded. The decision signals that fundamental rights can be stripped away based on political ideology or judicial decisions, rather than any legitimate concerns over our constitutional rights.

It’s been made abundantly clear that this issue was never about “protecting life” and was instead about punishing individuals according to religious moral standards. If conservatives truly were “pro-life,” they would support contraception and sex education, and fixing our broken foster care system. At the end of the day, being “pro-life” should translate to protecting people, not just embryos, and giving children the resources and support systems they need to survive. An attack on Roe isn’t just an attack on reproductive rights but also a threat to individuals’ autonomy over their lives.

The overturning of this decision undermines individuals’ ability to make decisions about their bodies and futures and allows governments to exert control over people’s health and reproductive futures, with the “Dobbs” ruling carrying implications that extend beyond reproductive rights alone. It holds consequences for social justice, equality, public health, and the integrity of the legal system itself. Upholding justice requires ensuring that all individuals have the right to make decisions about their bodies and access essential healthcare services without discrimination or interference, and currently that very right is under threat.

Rowan Democrats

Since the “Dobbs vs. Jacksons” Women Health Organization (2022) Supreme Court case in the Summer of 2022, America has experienced an unprecedented level of division that continues to polarize. Currently, a majority of Americans (61%) hold the belief that abortion should be, for the most part, legal with the slim minority (37%) believing that abortion should be banned at the federal level with select exceptions. Consequently, against the vision of the founders, the judicial branch has elevated into unprecedented power and now acts as a sword of untold ability. The Supreme Court of the United States abides by no ethical morality and often political bias leads to the arbitrary overturning of foundational precedent. 

Before the recent Dobbs decision, the fundamental security of reproductive rights was secured by a nearly fifty-year-old precedent established in 1973 with “Roe v Wade” and settled in 1992 when the Supreme Court upheld Roe’s vital precedent in a separate case. The rushed overturning of such a settled precedent is a testament to the unelected justices’ failure to ethically execute their oaths of office. Additionally, many attacks on women’s reproductive rights have been carried out such as the 2015 Supreme Court case, “Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores” (2015) which restricted employees from receiving contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act based on religion and continues to provide corporations with the First Amendment’s freedom of religion. 

As the minority of Americans who believe in restrictive reproductive laws chip away more and more of women’s rights, the maternal mortality rate is rising at an alarming rate with a reported 84% of mortality cases being avoidable. With abortion protections being passed down to the States, this will create a large inequality in maternal mortality rates and will negatively impact states such as Alabama, which is home to roughly 1.1 million women at reproductive age and that has also totally banned as well as criminalized abortion at the point of conception. 

With 14 states banning abortion at the point of conception, Americans around the nation are taking the issue of abortion and reproductive rights as an issue of freedom. During the 2022 Midterm Elections in Kansas, voters rejected an amendment that would ban abortion and they did so because the ability to have autonomy over your own life as well as your body is a basic freedom that everyone should have, especially when living in the “Land of The Free”. We must all do our part to secure the freedoms of today as well as the freedoms of tomorrow. This includes efforts to pass legislation that codifies the right to choose, irrespective of the state in which a person resides. 

Additionally, America must prioritize the importance of public education to dispel myths surrounding abortion and reproductive health, fostering a more informed and understanding society. While recognizing the complexities of the abortion debate, legalizing abortion nationally is essential to safeguard reproductive freedom consistently. Access to safe and legal abortion is a cornerstone of women’s healthcare and an integral component of reproductive rights. National legalization is a step towards ensuring that all individuals have equal access to the healthcare services they need. In a political playing field littered with landmines, the way we as a nation will navigate through this is by recognizing that the abortion conflict is one about freedom and is costing the lives of countless mothers as they struggle to fight for it. 

Rowan Republicans

As individuals who firmly believe in the sanctity of life, we are compelled to advocate for stricter abortion laws, particularly in the wake of the decision to overturn “Roe v. Wade.” This landmark ruling not only aligns with our deeply held moral convictions but also respects the diverse beliefs and values across our nation by leaving abortion regulations to individual states.

In our view, the protection of unborn life should be paramount in our society. Therefore, we advocate for the nationwide banning of abortion to uphold the rights and dignity of every human being, starting from the moment of conception. While some may argue that such measures would limit women’s access to reproductive health services, we firmly believe that safeguarding innocent lives takes precedence over convenience or personal choice.

Rather than focusing on reinstating national protections for abortion, we should concentrate our efforts on providing comprehensive support for pregnant women facing challenging circumstances. This includes access to healthcare, education, and resources to help them make informed decisions about their pregnancies. Additionally, promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, can offer viable solutions that respect both the rights of the mother and the unborn child.

In envisioning a perfect reproductive health law, it is essential to strike a delicate balance between the well-being of mothers and the protection of unborn children. Such legislation would recognize and uphold the inherent value of every human life from the moment of conception onwards, ensuring that both maternal health and the rights of the unborn are safeguarded.

While compromise is often sought in matters of public policy, there can be no compromise when it comes to protecting innocent life. However, meaningful dialogue and education can play a crucial role in fostering understanding and empathy between individuals with differing viewpoints. Ultimately, our focus should remain steadfast on advocating for laws and policies that defend the rights of the most vulnerable among us and ensure their protection.

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