Roe Vs Wade – What you need to know

Malvika Khera

Over the past couple of weeks, terms such as ‘abortion’, ‘pro-choice’, and ‘pro-life’ have become one of the most frequently searched topics on search engines such as Google.  Roe vs Wade has also been trending on Twitter and dominating discussions on various social media platforms. The exponential rise of these conversations is due to the fact that Roe Vs Wade has been overturned by the United States Supreme Court. Let’s break this all down for you.

What is Roe vs Wade?

Roe vs Wade is a case that began in 1969 when Norma McCorvey (who used the pseudonym "Jane Roe") challenged the criminal abortion laws in Texas. During this time, it was illegal for women to have an abortion unless the pregnancy threatened the mothers’ health. For this case, Roe argued that Texas’ abortion laws were unconstitutional and violated the fourteenth amendment. This subsequently lead the Supreme Court to legalize abortion nationwide and introduce the ‘trimester’ system

A brief history of Roe vs Wade – 1970’s to 2022

Even though the outcome of Roe vs Wade allowed women to safely and legally have an abortion, this decision remained divisive through the nation. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Ruth’s (our company) namesake and a champion for gender equality, felt that the legalization of abortion was not only needed but “central to a woman’s life, to her well-being, and dignity” and noted that “if the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices”. Former first lady, Michelle Obama, also echoed Justice Ginsberg’s sentiment by stating that the right for an abortion “isn’t subject to meddling from the state”.  

Despite of these efforts, pro-life politicians continued to restrict access to abortion throughout the past decades. As stated by BBC news, some anti-abortion laws and policies were the following: 

  • Banning the usage of federal funds for abortion in 1980
  • Allowing states to prohibit abortions being carried out in state clinics, or by state employees in 1989.
  • The ruling in Planned Parenthood v Casey in 1992.

Roe vs Wade has been overturned, what does this mean?

A couple of weeks ago on June 24th, the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe vs Wade stripping women from their reproductive choices and allowing individual states to criminalize abortion. To date, around 23 states have indicated that they will be banning abortion. 

Source: The Washington Post

Needless to say, this decision will not only regress women’s rights and equality, but will also bring significant legal, social, economic, and health implications in both the near and distant future. 

How will Roe Vs Wade affect Canada?

Canadian politicians such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have weighed in and have called this decision a “devastating setback for American women” and “an attack on everyone’s freedoms and rights”. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also condemned the decision and has promised Canadian women that their right to an abortion “will not be undermined in any way here in our country”. Canadian politicians are hoping to extend this promise to Americans who may need an abortion by making Canada an abortion safe haven.

Our Stance on the overturning of Roe vs. Wade

For a while, we felt lost, confused, and anxious about this new ruling. With Ruth Bader Ginsburg as one of our main inspirations, we truly believe that women should have access to the care that they need - whether they choose to be mothers or not. Now that this ruling has been overturned, it can lead to more unsafe abortions and put women’s health at risk. Resources for unwanted pregnancies are already scarce and this ruling just made it a lot riskier for women to get access to abortion. Our hearts are so heavy, as women’s health is once again put in danger. We strongly disagree with this overturning, as so many people’s lives will be hurt by this.