The Rights We are Still Fighting For
Photographed by Cassidy Palmateer of Kloe Campbell, Ryan Backus, Chinasa Okoro, Cassidy Marshall, Joelle Weaver
By Anna Konen
In 1969 Norma McCorvey became pregnant with her third child. McCorvey, a fearful 21-year-old, did not want to carry this child, but she resided in Texas, where to obtain an abortion the mother's life had to be in danger. After having two children, both of whom she did not have custody of, McCorvey did not feel ready nor fit to have a child. McCorvey was left with only two choices: travel to a state where abortions were permitted or obtain an abortion illegally. However, as a 21-year-old, she did not have the financial means or connections to do so. She made the best decision she could, given her limited resources and lack of employment (because "nobody wants to hire a pregnant girl"). She hired a team of attorneys, including two women who were eager to contest the nation’s position on abortion.
Norma McCorvey became Jane Roe and a 4-year battle for the rights of women ensued.
Across the country women rioted and fought for the rights they deserved in the name of women hood. Women young and old came together to fight for their rights and the rights of their future daughters.
On January 22nd, 1973, a supreme court decision was made in the favor of women, 7-2 with an all-male Supreme Court. Women across the country were filled with hope for the future, hope for their grandchildren, and hope for the new women-inclusive world that was to come.
Nearly 50 years later, a hauntingly similar scenario was depicted as every woman in America’s greatest fear came true.
On May 2nd, 2022 a supreme court opinion was leaked by Politico, an opinion that would send women’s rights back to an era where stay-at-home wives were idolized, and women’s one consistent job was to be a mother. This terrifying possibility became a reality when the landmark case Roe v. Wade was overturned by the SCOTUS on June 24th, 2022.
What started as a leaked opinion written by Justice Alito ended as a definitive decision over the bodies of women, and people with uteruses. A historical decision, a terrifying one at that. What does this mean for future women, for the people with uteruses that are born after this decision? Abortion regulations are currently up to the discretion of state legislatures. Twelve of these states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Alabama, have already outright prohibited abortion and taken other ominous steps regarding women's rights and the rights of other marginalized communities.
The people who possessed power in the 1973 decision and the 2022 decision was one of the most alarming and disheartening aspects of the supreme court ruling. Why is it that the supreme court with the most female justices in history made the choice to take away the rights of their own people? How could a woman vote to suppress the community she is a part of? How could men with daughters and wives actively take steps to take the rights away from them?
A simple look at the difference between the Supreme Court Justices in 1973 and the Supreme Court Justices in 2022 has left many wondering why we are going backwards in time. One would think that a group filled with women would be more progressive than an all-male Supreme Court. It is evident that that is not the case.
The Supreme Court Justices that were responsible for the overturning of Roe V Wade
So, who is on the women’s side? Whom can women count on if not the people put into position for the explicit reason of protecting their rights?
A historical decision was made, leaving people everywhere wondering why we still must fight for the rights we won years ago. Why, suddenly do woman’s lives not matter? Why is it that there is more care for the unborn than for the living women who are raped, assaulted, and then forced to carry a child to term.
Although disheartened, all hope is not lost. If there is one thing that can be counted, it is a strong and angry woman who does not sit by and watch life happen to them. Activism has already started, and the end will not come until the rights of women and all people with uteruses have been reinstated.
There is no Norma McCorvey, no Jane Roe. However, there is an army of furious women, a force to be reckoned with. This battle will be won, but it is a battle we are tired of having to fight. We are angry, we are tired, but most of all we are terrified, and we are wondering, why must we still fight for these basic human rights?