By Cynthia Solis
The Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments that could potentially result in the repeal of Roe v. Wade. If the landmark case is repealed, it can harm hundreds of thousands of women in 26 states.
The current case being discussed is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It began in 2018 when the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a clinic and abortion facility in Mississippi, decided to challenge the “Gestational Age Act” in federal court. The law essentially banned abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy except for in the cases of a medical emergency or fetal abnormality.
Initially, the district court that heard the case agreed in favor with the plaintiffs, affirming the law was unconstitutional and stopping the law’s enforcement.
Mississippi’s Department of Health state health officer Thomas Dobbs appealed the U.S. Court of Appeals decision for the 5th Circuit. The court deemed the law unconstitutional because of the precedent case. Dobbs proceeded to appeal to the Supreme Court in 2020 and decided to review the case in 2021.
Thus, the court will hear a case where the justices will be forced to return to the issue of abortion and hopefully determine to leave it where it belongs, to the people of the United States. So, while they determine the future of abortion in terms of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, they are also determining whether or not to overturn Roe v. Wade. This landmark case legalized abortion without excessive government restriction.
Currently, Texans are experiencing the effects of SB8, which bans abortion after the sixth week. Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive healthcare, submitted a legal brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, United States of America v. State of Texas. It included approximately 27 testimonies from people who have already been affected by the abortion ban, either by having their right to an abortion denied, encountering obstacles to receiving out-of-state care, and how the law traumatizes healthcare providers.
Reading the testimonies, a reader can see how heartbreaking and difficult it must be to live in such a state under this law. Some testimonies include a single mother, D.O. (her initials to keep her identity anonymous) of a kindergartener, who is balancing school and work. Unfortunately, the father of both her child and unborn child “was just really bad… very abusive.” She was abused during her first pregnancy, which she said “was horrible.” D.O. was “finally [able to get] away,” stating, “there was just no way that I could physically, mentally, emotionally go through that again.” She cannot get an abortion and the logistics behind going out of state to do it seem insurmountable. This is one of many accounts that showcase the many problems women and healthcare providers are experiencing due to the ban.
If the supreme court sides with Dobbs— the deplorable, gruesome accounts of the women in Texas will likely become testimonies of other women in the 26 states, undoubtedly leading to the destruction of many women’s lives.