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The Disturbing New Reality of Being a Woman in America

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Earlier this month, a leaked Supreme Court draft revealed intent to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that decreed access to abortion as a constitutional right. The draft was written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and although not a final ruling nor official case, the document incited public outcry stirred by fear for the future. With one 98-page court draft, the new reality of being a woman in America became disturbingly evident: women are slowly being stripped of their rights to their bodies. The possibility that the Supreme Court could throw out decades of meticulously planned court arguments and resources used to fight for a woman’s right of choice is now very real.

Without the protection of federal law, many reproductive rights groups predict that nearly 26 states will move to inhibit access to abortion resources or ban the practice completely. The decision would allow states free rein to control abortion rights without federal oversight, whether that be keeping abortion legal within their state or instituting a ban along with severe consequences should the ban be violated. The message instigated by the Supreme Court’s draft ruling constitutes a larger picture for women in America. The rulings would effectively render our right to choose illegal, and men with no inkling of knowledge of what women’s bodies endure would be allowed to create laws stripping us of all bodily autonomy.

Justice Alito defends his rulings on the grounds that abortion was never written nor discussed in the Constitution. He’s right: the Constitution has no mention of reproduction or women’s health. In fact, the Constitution fails to mention women in general. The Constitution is a document that’s nearly 246 years old, created during a time when white men monopolized decision making on behalf of the American public. A document drafted during a time when women did not have the right to vote nor the right to own property. A document written during a time when women had no rights at all, subjugated to the whims and wishes of their husbands, as they were considered nothing more than a piece of property owned by a man. This document is the piece of evidence that Justice Alito has chosen to back his argument for stripping 21st Century women of control over their own bodies. Our own flesh, our own blood, our very beings, now in the hands of a man who will never understand. A man who will never understand the fear of having to carry his rapist’s child. A man who will never understand the dread of bringing a child into life unprepared to take care of it. A man who would use 18th Century logic to fulfill his desire to control what a woman can or cannot do with her body. Think about that.

As a young woman living in America, I am not ashamed to admit that I am scared. Scared for my future and what that future entails should Roe v. Wade be overturned. With what right does the government think they can tell me what I am allowed to do with my body? Why must I be subjugated to the government’s beliefs in creation and the beginnings of life, if I myself do not hold such beliefs? Does the first amendment of the Constitution not give me the free exercise of religion? How can I possibly be expected to endure knowing I live in a country that means to strip me of my right to choose? The thought of having to even entertain such an idea makes me sick. I used to be full of pride when telling people I was an American. I was once proud of holding the citizenship of a country that bore Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sojourner Truth and countless other women’s rights activists who fought tooth and nail so that young women like me would have a place in this country. It disgusts me to think of how prideful I used to be, but it pains me even more to see the countless years of hard work of all the women who came before me discarded and lost to the wind as if nothing more than dust on a shelf.

“It takes two to tango”, as the saying goes. That saying is never more true when it comes to conception. The United States prides itself on being the land of opportunity and equality, bleeding for decades as women fought to achieve a modicum of rights easily afforded to men. In the spirit of equality, why not enforce reproductive laws upon men as well? Why not mandate vasectomies? After all, is it not the man’s sperm that impregnates the woman’s egg in the first place? Unfortunately, this is the United States of America. A nation that boasts being the “land of the free” when engaged in the enslavement of other human beings. A nation unafraid to declare “with liberty and justice for all” as our government stands on the brink of stripping a woman’s liberty over her body and any sense of justice she might fight for in doing so. We live in a sham of a nation built on hypocrisy, racism, and misogyny. Expect no justice or equality here.

Megha is currently a third year global studies major with a passion for digital journalism at UCLA. She loves exploring the arts beyond writing, including photography, graphic design, and painting. In her free time, she loves reading classic literature, making jewelry, and learning new languages!