Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, but in 2016, there are still a seemingly endless amount of limitations regarding abortions and women’s rights.
Prior to the 1973 historic case that determined women were entitled to make their own medical decisions – such as having an abortion – a total of 46 states had deemed the act illegal. The Supreme Court ruled the restrictions unconstitutional, but the years following have not demonstrated as much progress as predicted; take for example, the battle over funding the county’s biggest nonprofit reproductive health service, Planned Parenthood.
In 1973, the Hyde Act was passed, denying abortions to women on Medicaid. The only exceptions included cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s health was at stake. There’s also the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case of 1992 that allowed the state to regulate abortions, thus limiting where and when women can have them. Former President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, prohibiting abortions performed in the second trimester. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
In the midst of ever-changing legislation, women have fought for legal rights over their privacy and own bodies. Sadly, this hasn’t stopped dissenters from taking actions into their own hands.
In November 2015, Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. opened fire in the lobby of a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, killing three and injuring nine people. Calling himself “a warrior for the babies” Dear has yet to enter a plea, but has made his anti-abortion views public.
In July, Planned Parenthood faced allegations of selling fetal tissue donations on camera. Pro-life organization The Center for Medical Progress launched the attack last year against Planned Parenthood and their alleged “black market use” of fetal tissue donations.
Many accused the videos of being highly edited and doctored.
Fetal tissue donations have led to the Nobel prize-winning polio vaccine, treatment in Parkinson’s Disease, and other biomedical research. So far, state probes have not uncovered any instances of illegal use.
While critics believe women aren’t as aggressive in fighting for pro-abortion laws today, many have taken to social media with hashtags like #shoutyourabortion and #StandWithPP to support Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.
But the battle isn’t just filled with celebrity advocates or oppressors. Shortly after The Center for Medical Progress video was released, Republican presidential candidates used it to push their own anti-abortion plans. However, President Barack Obama has repeatedly championed the funding of Planned Parenthood.
Earlier this month, President Obama vetoed the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the takeaway of all federal funds from Planned Parenthood. The veto was only the eighth in his presidency and noted the act would, “disproportionately impact low-income individuals.”
This year, another potentially historic case is making its way to the courts. The Whole Women’s Health v. Cole in Texas is challenging previous provisions that led to the closing of half the abortion clinics in the state. Because of the strict laws on abortion in Texas, many women are forced to go above and beyond by taking days off work and losing income just to travel the distance to a healthy and safe clinic.
With the case becoming the most important abortion rights stance in the past 25 years, the stakes have never been higher, proving on the 43rd anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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