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Viewpoint: 45 Years After Roe V. Wade, How Much Has Really Changed?

Uterus-owning people sre still struggling to have access to safe, accessible abortions

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A woman’s right to abortion has a history of being a politically charged issue. 45 years ago, the issue of a woman’s right to privacy regarding medical decisions even made it to the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade. In 1973, this landmark case ruled for the legality of abortion in all 50 states. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to privacy in medical decisions fell under the protection of the 14th amendment. Yet, 45 years later the United States is still pushing back against legal abortions.

Like everything, there are restrictions on abortions, many states have limits on how late an abortion can occur. This ranges from six weeks in states North Dakota (which was later blocked by a judge), to states with virtually no restrictions on abortions like Vermont and Oregon. A majority of states have banned abortion after a fetus is considered ‘viable‘. In addition to this, many states have passed laws with mandatory waiting periods or mandatory ultrasounds. These mandatory waiting periods can be up to 72 hours in some states. These laws are broadly know as ‘TRAP’ laws which are designed to restrict abortion laws. TRAP stands Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. These laws range from forced waiting periods to requirements on the dimensions of hallways in abortion clinics.

In the current political administration, the attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, has been something discussed even before Election Day. Yet decisions like this should reflect what the people of the United States want, over 70 percent of the population believes the decision made in Roe v. Wade should be held. In the first year of Trump’s presidency, Congress voted to allow states to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Regardless of whether you stand pro-life or pro-choice, adding restrictions on abortions does not stop them from happening, it just means that safe abortions are banned. While groups like Planned Parenthood does so much more than abortion services, abortions are far more common that people realize. 1 in 4 women under the age of 45 will have an abortion in their lifetime.

For those interested in seeing how difficult obtaining an abortion can be, the online game ‘Trapped‘ has different scenarios randomly selected to show how difficult it can be to get an abortion despite the perceived progress made through Roe v. Wade.

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Nicole Masaki is a 2018 graduate ofCanisius College in Buffalo, New York. She is a triple major in English, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy. She will be a first year grad student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Fransisco for their MA in Anthropology and Social Change program.

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