Overturning Roe v. Wade Would Be a Disservice to Everyone

| Reproaction

By: Evonnia Woods

In a brief recently submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX), they ask the judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision making abortion legal in the United States. They also requested to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “the 1992 decision that said states may not impose an ‘undue burden’ on the right to abortion before fetal viability.” [1] In sum, they want abortion access to be determined by state legislatures – which they intend on their ideological counterparts controlling – instead of it existing as a federally protected right under the U.S. Constitution.

Both the popularity of these senators and their anti-abortion stance hinge on core tenets of white patriarchal supremacy – a belief system that is harmful to everybody, including white men. For decades, the anti-abortion movement has prioritized the feelings of cisgender white men (a prioritization that has been internalized by people of other races and genders) over scientific research and evidence-based data while depicting abortion as a murderous act best addressed punitively. [2, 3] The result has been a continued hold on power largely by and always serving the interests and feelings of these cisgender, straight, white men.

Ignoring scientific research and evidence-based data means ignoring the fact that overturning Roe will not end abortion, but rather end access to legal abortions. People will continue to seek out and self-manage their abortions, or travel to receive in-clinic care. [4, 5] It also means ignoring how access to legal abortion care correlates with lower maternal mortality rates ,that on average position Black people with a capacity for pregnancy as three to four times more likely to die than their white counterparts. [6] Wrongly depicting abortion as a murderous act best addressed punitively means disregarding the fact that at least 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and proceeding to prosecute people suffering from miscarriages as if they had unlawful abortions. [7] These false conclusions and their impact have profound consequences for our communities, particularly when paired with misogynist, anti-abortion shaming that forces many in the shadows instead of seeking the care they need, whether it be for prenatal care, abortion, or miscarriage management.

We know through research that abortion access ensures bodily autonomy and positively impacts educational attainment, economic mobility, and physical and mental health for people with a capacity for experience pregnancy. [8] However, the benefits of abortion access extend beyond them, because they do not exist independent of everyone else. People with capacity for pregnancy are a part of families, communities, workforces, and overall society. Ignoring the scientific and lived reality of our bodies is a harm to everyone.

When assessing the desire expressed by Senators Hawley, Lee, and Cruz to end abortion access, we must consider where their politics of exclusion gets us as a society. No individual’s rights can be restricted without restricting the rights of everyone, no matter how hard white patriarchal supremacists try to convince us otherwise. The only way to strengthen our country is to practice inclusion. The United States should be a country where abortion access is recognized as the human right that it is, regardless of one’s feelings about it. The research and evidence-based data is clear: Overturning Roe v. Wade would be a disservice to everyone.

For more information on the upcoming arguments over our basic rights in the courts, check out our October webinar: “Abortion Comes to the Supreme Court: What’s Coming and What’s at Stake” on Tuesday, October 26 at 1:00pm ET. Register here for an engaging discussion that will equip you to fight back.


[1] Hancock, Jason.  Jul 27, 2021. “Hawley urges Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in Mississippi Abortion Case.” The Columbia Missourian.

[2] Ross, Loretta. 2016. “The Color of Choice: White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice.” Pp 53-65, in Color of Violence: the Incite Anthology, edited by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence. NYC: Duke University Press.

[3] DiBranco, Alex. Feb 3, 2020. “The Long History of the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Links to White Supremacists.”The Nation

[4] North, Anna.  Oct 26, 2020. “This is the future of abortion in a post-Roe America.” Vox,

[5] DW. June 20, 2019. “US women prepare for future without legal abortion.”

[6]  World Health Organization. Sept 25, 2020. “Preventing Unsafe Abortion.”

[7]  March of Dimes. “Miscarriage.”

[8] Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Jan 2015. “Medical and Social Health Benefits Since Abortion Was Made Legal in the U.S.”

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