The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Overturning of Roe v. Wade Leaves Many Bucks County Women Feeling Betrayed

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

On June 24, 2022, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old landmark ruling that guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion.  The decision comes from a review of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case which focused on Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act and prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks “except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality.”

Thirteen states had “trigger laws” in place which are unenforceable laws that may achieve enforceability if a key change in circumstances occur.  In the case of abortion rights, this key change was the overturning of Roe v. Wade. With the Supreme Court’s decision, according to The Washington Post, nearly one-third of the country “will prohibit abortion within 30 days of the ruling.”

While many have expected the Supreme Court’s decision, especially following the leak of the opinion draft in May as well as having three conservative justices consecutively appointed during former President Donald Trump’s term, news of the ruling has left many constituents flabbergasted and betrayed.

For Sydney Kline, a paralegal at a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, abortion rights have always been an open topic in her family household.  “My grandma had always told me you don’t have to worry, we fought for this, it’s always going to be there, and then to have heard this all my life and then, suddenly, it’s gone, like it stunned me,” says Kline. “And then I called my grandma and she cried on the phone.”

“I was really shocked because it didn’t seem like something that would happen in America in this day and age,” adds Hannah Boscola, a 23-year-old Bucks journalism student from Perkasie. “How could that have happened with a Democratic President and Congress in place?”

According to The New York Times, “roughly eight Americans in 10 support abortion rights and opposed the reversal of Roe v. Wade” before the ruling was made official.

The ruling sparked protests nationwide with hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets voicing their disbelief and sadness over the Supreme Court decision.

“Take it to the streets because that way the news companies will go out of their way to show all these protests happening,” reasoned Nalani McDonald, a 24-year-old Bucks senior and cinema/filmmaking major from Newtown. McDonald said she believes the increased news coverage of the protests and the issue at hand will reach a wider audience and possibly influence the way the constituents are going to vote.

Allison Howe, the Executive Director and CEO of Nonprofit Connect and former VP of Medical Administration at Planned Parenthood from Yardley, thinks differently. While she attended many rallies and events in the past, Howe indicates that “the best thing is to get candidates, probably women, to run for office and then get them in office to make decisions that reflect what women want.”

For those who want to continue public protests, however, Howe recommends reaching out to the public officials and representatives to make their voices heard. “Contact your local congressman and make a lot of noise that way. If you write letters or call them or meet them in person or go with a group of people, it’s way more impactful than a protest,” encourages Howe.

“Protesting is necessary but action gets done through legislation so I think elections are one of the most important things to do. I don’t think you can have one without the other,” says Madison Russell, a rising freshman and Music Theatre major at Ohio State University from Yardley.

With midterm elections coming up, abortion rights have been thrusted into the forefront. “It’s important that this issue stay front and center for the elections. It’s competing with a lot – inflation, gas prices, kitchen table issues that affect individuals and families,” says Stacey Mulholland.

Mulholland, a township manager in Bucks County with significant experience in the legislative field, moves the focus further towards the importance of voting and electing the right officials. “For years, our legislature has been trying to outlaw abortion and we’ve had mostly progressive governors [in Pennsylvania]. There was always the stop gap in the Governor’s Office,” she added.

Mulholland also noted the significance of setting term limits for members of Congress noting that generations are being robbed of representation, as well as the the crucial role of future generations stepping into leadership roles at elected offices, whether it be serving on a township or borough committee like Parks & Recreation. “Just getting your foot in the door so that these greater opportunities are in front of you to represent your generation,” she advised.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade will have significant implications on women’s health and the healthcare system. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues, the Supreme Court decision “disproportionately impacts women of color.”

The KFF research indicates that women of color are not only more likely to obtain abortions, but already have more limited access to health care. In addition, they face underlying inequities that would make it difficult to travel out of state for an abortion.

“There was a reason why Roe v. Wade was made,” said Shyan Robinson, a recently graduated nursing student from La Salle University in Philadelphia. “We had women in the streets dying. They were doing back alley abortions that were either killing the women or scarring them forever.”

Howe added, “When you live in a country that makes abortion illegal, it doesn’t mean there’s less abortions. It just just means there’s more death. This will impact maternal mortality.”

According to Robinson, social services will also be significantly impacted by the Supreme Court ruling. “There will be a lot more kids who are put up for foster care or adoption and how is the government going to support them when we can barely support people who are alive today?” asks Robinson.

A lot of attention has also been placed on Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion.  Thomas wrote that the justices “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including no itals in AP style Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”  

The three cases deal with access to contraceptives, decriminalizing same-sex relationships, and legalizing same-sex marriage. Obergefell v. Hodges was ruled on quite recently in June 2015.

“Now they’re just adding fuel to the fire. Why would you involve it when it doesn’t really have anything to do with the current case right now?” added McDonald.

“Everything is up for grabs and to be taken away which is sad,” said Kline.