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I Love My Mom, I Hate The Supreme Court

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 UCSB chapter.

Every year Mother’s Day gets a little more bittersweet (that’s not anything personal — my mom is a saint). The issue is that every year since 2020, when conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, we have witnessed abortion rights in numerous states be slowly eroded, making it exceedingly difficult and in some cases, impossible, for individuals to receive abortions in their state. It feels betraying to celebrate the holiday in this day and time, when the right to become, or not become a mother has been so viciously attacked. 

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 26, 2020. The conservative justice was the third of president Donald Trump’s supreme court appointments, Barrett filing the seat of late great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Though the Supreme Court is in theory, an impartial body, ideology is impossible to avoid. Barrett, along with Trump’s two other appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, lean conservative in their decisions and personal values. With Barrett’s appointment, the court was left with six conservative justices, and three liberal justices, making it substantially easier for the court to make decisions that align with Conservative views, including doing everything in its power to revoke abortion rights across the country. 

Since 2020, abortion has been a continually important issue in the American electorate, with state lawmakers implementing new policies to attempt to restrict a person’s right to choose. And with the Supreme Court dominated by conservative values, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent these news laws from going into affect. One Texas law, known as “The Heartbeat Act,” prohibits the administration of an abortion after a fetal heart beat is detected (usually around 6 weeks) with no exceptions, and allows individuals to file a lawsuit against anyone who provides or facilitates an abortion, including third parties like Uber drivers

The law is incredibly restrictive, especially considering that the American Pregnancy Association estimates most women discover they are pregnant between weeks four and seven. Under this law, a person seeking an abortion will have just two weeks (at the very best) to have it before they will have to seek other alternatives. The law went into effect in September of 2021, and abortion activists quickly brought a case against it to the Supreme Court. The court refused to block the ban and dismissed the case, remanding it back to the fifth circut court it came from. 

Laws similar to this and worse have been emerging all over the country in the last few years, culminating in the 2022 Supreme court decision: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Collective, a case that overturns 1973’s Roe v. Wade. The heavily controversial ruling was actually leaked before the decision was made public, a draft opinion ending up in Politico just a day before the decisions. Dobbs surrounded the issue of a Mississippi abortion ban, and in essence ruled that abortion laws should be left up to states. The decision was 6-3, with liberal justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer, dissenting

But wait, it gets worse! Dobbs created a landslide movement of anti-abortion legislation that has been unrelenting, allowing lower-level courts the freedom to dismiss challenges to these laws and issue new rulings. 

One ruling which has caused much debate in the last few weeks was when the Alabama Supreme court ruled that invitro embryos fell into the category of “personhoood.” This ruling was the result of a case in which a hospital accidentally ruined the fertilized embryos of multiple couples, leading them to sue the hospital for Wrongful Death of a Minor, among other charges. The case was initially dismissed, but the Supreme Court ruled that the frozen embryos were, in fact, children. This ruling has led to immediate consequences, with at least 3 of the 8 fertility clinics in Alabama pausing their IVF treatments for liability reasons.

Every day we see stories of women, non-binary indivduals, and couples struggling with reproductive healthcare in their state. Horrific cases of individuals being forced to have children conceived by rape, having to travel to another state for a abortions necessitated by a fatal fetal anomaly, being told you have to leave your state to end a pregnancy that is life threatening. And now, not even people who want to become pregnant are able to do so. 

It’s important to note that not every vagina-owner identifies as female, and not every individual who identifies as female can become pregnant. But parenthood, motherhood, is something that is deeply personal and autonomous. It should be something that is between two partners, between an individual and their doctor. It isn’t something that should be up for debate, put to trial, or decided by legal counsel. 

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir a bit (this is Her Campus after all), but celebrating motherhood in such a dark moment in history for reproductive rights feels like a sick joke. Yes, we love our moms and are so grateful for them! But also, you have to push a baby out of your vagina, or else you and your doctor will go to jail for years. Motherhood is turning into this Handmaid’s Tale form of suppression that will soon have us donning white caps and red dresses

It’s also a cruel mode of irony that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for the protection of reproductive rights, and the establishment of her successor were the catalyst for this reinvigorated war against reproductive rights. So this Mother’s Day, in addition to celebrating our moms (truly the backbone of society, but that’s another article), let us dissent. Like RBG, like the millions of women who have fought against systems which have attempted to oppress them across the globe, and throughout history. 

Dissenting in Santa Barbara

Our beautiful school has the distinct privilege of being in California, a historically progressive state in which citizens are afforded rights that are not offered to other states. It’s important that we use this privilege to advocate for the countless indivdiuals in states whose reproductive rights have been violently dismantled. 

“Luckily, here in California, we are very strong in that we have good abortion policies,” said Taylee Martinez, Vice President of UCSB’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA). “We’re lucky that our state senator Monique Limón is a huge advocate for it [abortion].”

The main piece of advice that Martinez offered for students and readers seeking to help those in other states was to call their congressperson

“Don’t go on their website and fill out a form because an intern is just gonna file it and completely ignore it,” Martinez said. Even if your congressperson is a pro-choice advocate, it’s important to let them know that this is something that you care about. Martinez also suggested attending marches and community events geared towards reproductive justice, being supportive of your pregnant friends and those in different states, in addition to attending UCSB PPGA meetings, which are every other Tuesday.

Find abortion clinics and pregnancy crisis centers on the central coast here. For those seeking an abortion, UCSB Student Health offers medication abortions, and there is a Planned Parenthood in downtown Santa Barbara. Abortion laws by state map can be found here.

Lucy is a second year political science major who writes about everything she loves (and hates) about UCSB and life in general. When not writing, Lucy can be found reading a book, listening to music, or taking a nice long walk.