A Multi-Layered Approach to Understand the Decision’s Repercussions
A Group of Change Response to Societal Events
Very recently, millions of American women were shocked by the Supreme Court’s decision that erased the constitutional right to legal abortion which has been there for almost 50 years (New York Times, June 29, 2022). The legal right was called Roe v. Wade which was originally approved in 1973 by the US Supreme Court at the time (Wikipedia).
According to several media sources, this recent decision would impact the lives of millions of women all around the country.
According to a CBS news poll, about 67 percent of the women in the United States were opposing the decision by the Supreme Court while 52 percent declared that it in fact was a step backward (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-react-to-roe-v-wade-overturn-opinion-poll-2022-06-26/).
The decision not only had personal repercussions for many women who were planning or undergoing an abortion operation in a clinic, but also had far-reaching consequences across generations, geography, race, and class. This decision led many to question their current or planned place in the society that involved personal decisions related to education, workplace, or overall culture according to New York Times Magazine (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/29/us/women-abortion-roe-wade.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20220629&instance_id=65303&nl=todaysheadlines®i_id=84097153&segment_id=97097&user_id=58eb316bbdd7adf6a582ab471d85d331). Inevitably, be it short or long-term, women’s plans would come to halt with regards to what they were going to do with their individual lives. For some, it even meant the end of freedom.
All around the world, women experience drastic changes to their lives with the start of either desired or unwanted pregnancies.
Even with desired pregnancies, women in majority numbers find themselves in a position to re-visit their plans in life especially pertaining to their goals and pursuits at the individual level. Not to mention how many of those women could be risking their individual goals related to their careers, income sources, ways of living…etc.
According to many of the world’s cultures, becoming pregnant and having a baby is an important part of being a woman and it is in fact inseparable from a woman’s identity. Sometimes not having a baby could even be associated with “being less of a woman” no matter how advanced a society might be in terms of its economy, politics, education, and the like.
As women undergo so many critical changes and revisions to their lives with the start of a new one, they have to grapple with those at the individual, societal and cultural levels. And not all of those are positive changes. Some of those relate to inevitable biological transformation that comes along with pregnancy and with the birth of a baby. Some of those are about one’s social network where women may or may not end up with having enough social support during this critical period of intense psychological change as well (e.g., postpartum depression and related problems). Some of them could unfortunately be about personal finances that might be at risk because of a woman’s less involvement in what she used to do at the world of work before pregnancy. And, on top of all, woman’s place in the society might start to be solely associated with being a mother after all, deemed to be the most sacred therefore the most important job of being a woman.
Given the fact that women’s lives change at many levels of their existence, deciding to get pregnant seems to be one of the top decisions in one’s personal life. This decision is a personal one especially when it is planned. However, there are instances in life where a woman could find herself with unwanted pregnancy as a result of violence at the domestic or non-domestic level, as a result of partner neglect or rejection concerning birth-control, or unintended mistakes made in pregnancy prevention. In all of these instances a woman could still get pregnant, albeit unwillingly. Concerning all the changes outlined above, there are many problems to solve in addition to those that come with planned pregnancies. It is even more drastic when we think about unplanned/unexpected ones.
The decision by the Supreme court adds to a woman’s set of problems at all levels of existence. No matter how planned or unplanned the pregnancy might have been, a woman will not be able to make a decision to end her pregnancy in many states around the country. This means so many problems to solve at the individual (biology & psychology combined), familial, societal, and cultural levels.
As we can clearly see, as personal as it might seem or sound, the experience of pregnancy and the birth of a child brings with it tremendous challenges to be addressed at various levels. However, it is usually expected from women to solve their problems personally while the problem has many different facets with many levels of depth.
In addition to leaving most women alone in facing those challenges, also depriving them of their very individual right to make their own life decisions about their own individual plans, visions, resources, and capabilities, is reflective of a culture which does not represent connectedness/wholeness/interdependence/oneness but a culture of separation. It is treating an important member of a society as a separate entity without whom future generations would only be an impossible dream.