The Ongoing Fight for Reproductive Rights

One of the most controversial topics right now being debated in the United States and Puerto Rico Is the case for reproductive rights. Before the historic decision made by the Supreme Court that granted the constitutional right of women to access safe and legal abortion, Roe V. Wade, abortion was illegal in the US.  Because of this, women sought other ways to terminate their pregnancies in order to avoid facing the law. This resulted in clandestine and illegal abortion that would put the health of women at risk, many of them dying because of it. Women would seek illegal drugs, go see doctors that were recommended through word of mouth, and they would also resort to dangerous and high-risk methods. 

Right now, there is a strong movement in the US legislature to overturn Roe v. Wade which could be one of the stepping stones to make abortion illegal again. It is dangerous to assume that making abortion illegal would stop it altogether. Activists that are campaigning furiously against legislation that is trying to limit and/or ban abortion completely, assure that if that happens, we take a great deal of steps backward in terms of reproductive rights, a woman’s right to choose. With the naming of Judge Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court, there has been a tipping in the balance. Now it is a conservative majority, and this has many feminist and pro-choice groups feeling on edge. Which hints at the idea that he could be the deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade.

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In the case of Puerto Rico abortion is legal. Because of the island’s status as a US territory, it must follow federal law. But this does not mean that there isn’t a resistance to this. There have also been many attempts to pass laws that could limit the access to abortion. The Senate Project 950 is one of the latest attempts of the moment. There’s a rallying cry from activist groups that are joining together to oppose this becoming law which inherently limits a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy under the guise of “protecting women and life”. The language used in the project is avidly criticized because it carries religious undertones. These examples and the acts of limiting women’s access to sexual education and birth control are warning signs that this is not about “preserving life” but rather controlling women’s bodies.

The bill has since been withdrawn as of November 8th. That is one battle won but there will be more attempts at limiting women’s access to abortion. The fight still goes on.