“At the core of each movement is the belief that our most personal decisions should be free from political interference,” Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas said in 2015.
How the times have changed.
As a majority of us know by now, in the U.S. and beyond, the trademark case that protects the inherent right of abortion to anyone with a uterus – Roe v. Wade – was overturned on June 24.
In 1973, the Supreme Court voted in favor of one (pseudonym) “Jane Roe” against Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade. Roe had challenged a Texas law that stated abortions were illegal except in cases of an emergency, as noted by a doctor, to save the woman’s life. Wade challenged this by saying the language was “unconstitutionally vague” and “abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.”
SCOTUS, then, voted 7-2 in favor of Roe, noting largely the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy.
But one trailblazer at Politico managed to leak the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade in May, causing widespread fear among folks with uteruses and protesting nationwide.
“The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that largely maintained the right,” the Politico article reads.
However, this decision – which was made official in late June – did not ultimately ban the right to an abortion. No, it put that responsibility on the states.
To learn if your state allows legally protected abortions, go here.
But one thing that’s been overseen since this ruling is the effects it has on the LGBTQ+ community.
While getting pregnant may be seen as inherently heterosexual in nature, it happens to folks in the community too, whether they might be in a straight-presenting relationship or not.
LGBTQ Task Force executive director Kierra Johnson issued a statement shortly after the overturn, noting “there’s so much about LGBTQ liberation and reproductive justice that connects us…and connects our movements. The foundation of our movements were built on freedom – sexual freedom.”
In addition to this, members of the LGBTQ community who have uteruses oftentimes go to Planned Parenthood for reproductive health care on top of abortion access.
An article from The Hill – specifically citing the National Center for Transgender Equality – notes that transgender folks are already reluctant to receive this kind of health care, that “50% of transgender men have delayed or avoided preventative care due to fear of discrimination or disrespect.”
Furthermore, these individuals who are hesitant to receive care are at a higher risk for unintended pregnancies.
“If access to abortion is taken away, it may lead to people to seek care in another state where they might experience barriers because of their identity,” the Hill article reads. “… In addition, the idea of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term can be dysphoric for transgender and non-binary people.”
In another statement by CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project Amit Paley, this SCOTUS decision will have “lingering consequences.”
“Overturning Roe v. Wade will allow states to further restrict and regulate essential health care and reduce access to the already limited number of LGBTQ-competent providers in many parts of the country, posing a threat to the health and safety of young LGBTQ people,” the statement read. “In undermining decades of jurisprudence on the constitutional right to privacy, this decision could also jeopardize the rights afforded to LGBTQ people in the landmark Obergefell and Lawrence decisions—to love who you love and be who you are without fear of criminalization.”
“Lesbians (22.8 %) and bisexual women (27.2%) who have been pregnant are more likely than heterosexual women (15.4%) to have had an abortion, according to HRC’s analysis of the 2017-2019 National Survey for Family Growth,” an NBC report states.
A Forbes article notes that “while progress has been made, such as the Supreme Court ruling in 2020 that a 1964 civil rights law protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination and the landmark 2015 SCOTUS decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalized gay marriage in all 50 States, the recent Roe v. Wade ruling that overturned 50 years of precedent protecting women’s right to abortion access could impact other rights for the LGBTQ community.”
On the bright side, the Forbes article notes that The Victory Institute reported a 16% increase in LGBTQ congressional candidates this year compared to in 2020.
However, since Roe’s overturn, several states across the nation have already adopted laws completely banning abortion regardless of circumstance.
The New England Journal of Medicine commented on several parts of the majority opinion, including the Court’s reliance on “originalism,” essentially that the Constitution should be interpreted as it would have been in 1789.
Also, the NEJM notes that both Roe and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey “are different from the Court’s cases upholding rights related to contraception, marriage, child-rearing, and consensual sexual activity between adults, because only abortion involves destruction of ‘potential life.’
“… As both Thomas and the dissenters observe, the reasoning the majority uses to undermine Roe and Casey — their reliance on unenumerated rights that the majority claims are not ‘rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition’ — also applies to the cases underpinning other rights.”
We also can’t forget Justice Clarence Thomas’s comment shortly after the Roe overturn with his intention to visit same-sex marriage next. In 2015, the Obama-era Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional.
However, Thomas specifically commented to revisit Obergefell. Their attacks don’t just end at Roe.
What you can do
Nonprofits across the nation are stepping up to help people fight for their rights. These are links to some quick and easy ways to show support if you are unable to attend protests. Also check with local chapters of these organizations to see if there are any other ways to help close by.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Planned Parenthood
- Amnesty International
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- Pro Choice America
- Power to Decide
- Brennan Center for Justice
Your voice matters. Don’t only vote, speak up.