Pro-life activist protests in Mississippi. Media provided from local Mississippi newspaper, Meridian Star.
In 1973, the United States saw a groundbreaking Supreme Court case in which it was decided that the Constitution protects the rights of women to safely and legally receive an abortion. The Roe v. Wade verdict was a revelatory result and marked a critical turning point for women’s rights within the U.S. However, almost 40 years after the original case, a new dispute in Mississippi is attempting to undo all that was accomplished.
The Mississippi case was brought before the courts on Wednesday, Dec. 1 and focused on the legitimacy of a Mississippi law that bans women from undergoing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a deadline that is nearly two months earlier than Roe v. Wade establishes. The case in favor of this law argues that “any surgical abortion taking place after 15 weeks’ gestation carries inherent medical threats to the mother” (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Introduction). Yet, the science behind the gestation period proves this statement to be doubtful, as scientists agree that the risk of dying from childbirth is 11 times greater than the risk of dying from an abortion received during the first trimester, after which the risk between both options becomes about the same. (Shape 2021).
Every abortion case is, of course, unique but the limits set by Roe v. Wade provides a general framework (Planned Parenthood 2014). However, despite this, the conservative majority within the Supreme Court – secured by Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2017 – have fought to uphold and legitimize Mississippi’s laws. While it’s unlikely that Roe v. Wade will be entirely overturned, the precedent this case sets for abortion laws within individual states is extremely concerning and could indicate major setbacks for women’s rights in the U.S. And yet, despite how potentially course-altering this could be, there seems to be minimal recognition for it within the high school.
In an interview with a Gazette reporter, a student, who wishes to remain anonymous, remarked that they “heard of what was happening but didn’t really know much about it.” Other students indicated a similar lack of awareness regarding this case and its potential impairment on women’s rights.
As the Supreme Court attempts to reach its final decision within the next month regarding the future of Roe v. Wade, not all hope is lost for those in support of its upholdment. Despite the troubling lack of awareness at GCS regarding this case, protestors and activists are still appearing in droves in D.C. to voice their support in favor of the legal, safe, and free abortion laws that have supported women and their right to a choice over what to do with their bodies for almost 40 years. While the Supreme Court is still far from reaching its final verdict, the voices of the American people will continue to ring loud, ultimately deciding the future of the nation.