Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

Roe v. Wade’s 51st Anniversary: What does our “post-Roe” country look like?

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 USF chapter.

It has been 51 years since the Supreme Court decided on Roe v. Wade. Although federal protections that Roe v. Wade once offered on abortion care are lost, there is still hope for reproduction rights and abortion care in the United States. 

History of Roe

Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court case that involved the breach of privacy in the case of having a legal abortion within the state of Texas. This case was decided on January 22, 1973. The case involved Jane Roe, an unmarried woman who sought a safe and legal abortion. She challenged a Texas statute, Henry Wade, a district attorney of Dallas County; who made it illegal to perform an abortion unless it was in the case of a woman’s life at stake. This case was decided under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments protecting the right to privacy. 

Since the decision of Roe v. Wade, women have been granted protections under Roe, including more access to reproductive care and other healthcare facilities such as Planned Parenthood.

However, recently, states have been questioning the idea of whether the right to have an abortion should be legal. On a political spectrum, “pro-choice”, is in favor of having the choice to get or not get an abortion, and “pro-life”, is wholly against abortion; which has brought up debates on whether women should have the choice to do what they must with their health and bodies or if it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy. Due to this, the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022. This has made an uproar in the United States, questioning reproductive rights, its effects on the family planning process as well as how medical care for women will change. Not only does this decision affect the lives of women, but also the LBGTQ+ community in the family planning process, having a surrogate, in-vitro fertilization, etc. It can also have effects it has on people of different gender orientations within the community having access to reproductive health. 

Statistics and Information on Reproductive and Abortion Rights 

Currently, 21 states ban abortion and 14 states have enacted a total abortion, meaning that abortion is fully illegal in the state. Two states, Georgia and South Carolina have a complete abortion ban at six weeks of pregnancy. Other states are currently voting on ways to limit or ban abortions in their states. This not only limits rights to safe abortions but also limits rights to reproductive health care. Many who are accessing “illegal” or unsafe abortions, or having to go to other states to access them experience threats to their health care and can be seen as a breach of privacy, which Roe once protected under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Although these states may have restrictions on abortion care, there are still rights that can protect others’ right to have an abortion in their state, including states such as California and Vermont. “Expanded Access” allows the right to an abortion to be protected by state statutes or constitutions as well as other laws that allow for safe access to abortions. The “protected” category means that the right to an abortion is legal but there can be limitations to accessing abortion care. (Center for Reproductive Rights)

To raise awareness of the protection of abortion rights and reproductive rights, you can petition and protest but also make sure to vote this election season. Your voice matters!

Hello! I am Maya (She/Her). I currently go to the University of South Florida and pursuing a degree in Political Science and Journalism. My hometown is Orlando, Florida. I also love fashion, food, music, and meditation/yoga. I always strive for diversity and inclusion not only in my writing but to bring it to everyday conversation.