Amy Coney Barrett’s recent confirmation as a justice in the Supreme Court is a paramount example of new leaders entering office with dismissive views on progressive topics, such as bodily autonomy. The conservative views that accompany these new leaders has made it even more difficult to progress as a nation and — more specifically — progress as a gender.
There was a time when women had minimal rights. Even after the passage of the 19th Amendment granting voting rights, societal expectations of women stayed the same, leading to multiple waves of feminist movements urging society toward equal rights for women. Decades later, women’s rights issues are just as prevalent. As the 2020 election approaches, it seems as if our leaders are neglecting any progress made, instead moving backwards.
People with uteruses have been scared for the protection of their reproductive rights for countless years. Unfortunately, those same people are waiting for the outcome of a terrifyingly hostile overturn of Roe Vs. Wade that has been proposed by national Republican leaders. Amy Coney Barrett officially replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court, where conservatives lead a 6-3 majority, may have horrific effects on women’s rights.
Roe v. Wade is a monumental Supreme Court decision that declared a woman’s right to an abortion as implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment. Before Roe v. Wade, many people with uteruses took abortion-inducing drugs that were advertised and sold despite the danger they posed. If Roe v. Wade is overturned like some politicians want, women in the country will be forced to resort back to fatal abortion methods in order to protect their own futures.
The term “pro-choice” comes from the idea that if a person with a uterus becomes unexpectedly pregnant, they have the option to abort the child. That said, why are pro-lifers so adamant about demolishing abortion laws if they can make decisions about their own bodies? Why does nearly every pro-life argument involve religious beliefs?
Some progressive Christians, like Jes Kast, a minister in the United Church of Christ and someone who serves on the clergy advocacy board of Planned Parenthood, argues that abortion “should be legal in all or most cases.” She continued, “there are no circumstances under which it is immoral to get an abortion.”
Kast grew up in a Christian family where abortion was painted in an entirely negative light. When Kast matured, she began to view herself as a “Christian feminist,” and began to ask herself tough questions about the religion she preached.
“I began questioning: What about bodily autonomy? Isn’t that justice? How would God ever infringe upon that?” She said.
Christian groups have been consistently recognized for supporting anti-abortion laws and arguing the equivalence of abortion and murder. A church located outside of Planned Parenthood in Idaho is being sued for their frequent religious services that are intentionally held outside of a Planned Parenthood building. That church’s motive was to intimidate patients and staff members to sway them away from receiving a safe and legal abortion.
Typically, Christians reference the Bible and the simple commandment of “thou shall not kill” to defend their pro-life ideals. If the Christian Justices that now dominate our country’s Supreme Court pass anti-abortion judgements, the First Amendment is entirely violated. Not everyone in the nation has Christian beliefs and Supreme Court members making a choice based on their own religious agenda is unconstitutional.
Similar to Christian groups speaking out on an issue that is way larger than their religious sect, numerous male politicians have entered the reproductive rights debate. Congress has been predominantly male for years, which means the reproductive rights of people with uteruses in the country are determined by people that can’t even comprehend the struggles of living as a woman in a male-dictated society.
In addition, people with penises have no laws that regulate their bodily autonomy. How is it fair for a gender that has no restrictions on their reproductive rights to make a decision that is completely irrelevant to their body? It isn’t.
Planned parenthood is a major organization that supports reproductive rights. Advocacy to defund this organization has become extremely prominent as conservatives control courts and state legislatures. States that have access to Planned Parenthood have lower rates of teen pregnancy, STD’s and abortions.
Planned Parenthood provides safety and care to people that have not always had the opportunity to feel like their bodily rights aren’t restricted. By defunding such a powerful organization, a threat is posed to people with uteruses who just want control of their own body, which, really, should not be a big ask.
Just because a woman is in power does not mean her role inherently relies on feminist principles. Amy Coney Barrett, for example, has a long record of being hostile towards women's reproductive health and rights due to her Christian beliefs. Her actions directly oppose Justice Ginsburg’s evident passion for making sure women are protected and are able to make choices for their bodies.
It is unfortunate that not all women use their power to build up other women, and instead inflict harmful notions inspired by religion. Amy Coney Barrett is known to be a devout Christian, and was even on the board of a Christian private school that tried to ban children of same-sex parents. It is rather horrifying that even in 2020, a leader with such anti-progressive views holds such a major position in our judicial system.
Third term abortions have also been an argument that pro-lifers tend to spark up in order to prove their point that abortions are “murder.” In reality, these procedures are rare and are typically tragic situations where women face life-ending fetal diagnoses. Despite the fact that aborting a child within the third term of the pregnancy is due to fetal complications, some anti-abortion advocates believe that these women should still go through with the pregnancy and potentially die to save an already dying baby.
Here in Wisconsin, there are some restrictions on abortion. Public funding is only granted in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest or when the procedure is necessary for the health of the birth-giver. Additionally, Planned Parenthood is not funded in Wisconsin, despite Governor Tony Evers campaigning on a promise in 2018 to restore Planned Parenthood funding. Wisconsin law prevents state or local tax dollars from being used to fund abortions, except in rare circumstances, making it difficult for women to easily receive abortions.
It is a frightening time for women in the United States right now. As more conservatives are elected into judicial positions, more restrictions on women’s bodies are being discussed. Members of Congress continue to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict access to abortions. As a woman, I feel terrified as I continue to grow up and witness the people in congress doing everything in their power to terminate my reproductive rights. When will all people with uteruses feel safe and secure in a country that supposedly guarantees freedom regardless of gender? Now, it seems like my duty to be strong and stand up for the rights I know I deserve.
Alexandra is a freshman studying communications. Is Justice Barrett’s confirmation a cause of concern for women? Do you think men should decide on abortion rights? Do you think decisions and laws should be made on religious grounds? Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org