It’s a giant leap backwards for humankind.
The United States’ overturning of Roe vs Wade last week, effectively allowing states to ban a woman’s right to have an abortion, represents a mindset that is comfortable with trampling on rights that should be inviolable.
It disregards the rights of women to have agency over their own bodies and lives, reducing them to a childlike-status in the eyes of the law.
The effects on women must not be underplayed. It is catastrophic for women in that country.
The decision has sent ripples of despair around the world where those who are pro-choice have voiced their disgust at the development and have sent messages of sympathy to the women of the affected states in the U.S.
For all those who share the dismay that this decision is wrong in every sense, it beggars belief that a First World country can crush one’s right to an abortion, something that should never be a decision of the state.
While the abortion ban has its genesis in religion, the rules of religion should be left to those who adhere to that religion. It’s incongruous and primitive to force others to live by rules they do not prescribe to.
The problem with overturning one set of rights is that it can lead to others also being questioned. What about gay rights in ultra-conservative states?
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion in Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, which overturned Roe vs Wade, that the high court has a “duty to correct the error” established in Obergefell vs Hodges (2015), which legalised same-sex marriage; Lawrence vs Texas (2003), which protects same-sex relations; and Griswold vs Connecticut (1965), which protects married couples’ access to contraception.
Last Friday, President Joe Biden said Thomas’ concurring opinion, signals “an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on”.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood wrote of a right-wing extreme surveillance state in which women and gay people lived in subjection to the rule of the state. For many, it seemed that the annihilation of these human rights in modern America was very far-fetched. Suddenly, Atwood’s work seems chillingly prophetic.