The United States Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe V Wade case on June 24, which had guaranteed the right to abortion as a constitutionally guaranteed right, with a 6-3 supermajority. Now, governors of states are free to make decisions with respect to abortion laws. This decision is not entirely unexpected, since the Supreme Court has been practically captured by a conservative supermajority.
In this article, I will cover the following 2 aspects of this decision:
- What it means, as a precedent for future landmark decisions
- Why the USA may be soon overwhelmed by poverty
- The Decision As A Precedent
The decision was passed using a flawed logic- that the right to abortion was not one which was intrinsically related to the right to liberty (outlined in the 14th amendment of the US Constitution). The power to decide regulations on abortions was left to the discretion of state authorities. This is fundamentally flawed, and leaves the most vulnerable stakeholders i.e. pregnant women at the mercy of biased state authorities. 26 states are highly likely to ban abortion- 13 states already have trigger bans in place, which went off on the overturning of Roe V Wade.
Moreover, it sets a terrifying precedent- how many more decisions could potentially be taken that impede the goal of reaching a world wherein social welfare is maximized, a world wherein morals and constitutional rights hold precedence over political pressures? Fierce debates may erupt on needlessly polarized issues going forward. Where exactly will SCOTUS draw the line?
- A Bleak Future Marred By Poverty
The overturning of Roe has set off massive waves nationwide. It will have obvious short-term impacts in the form of protests, mass action, bans, international waves (caused by pro-lifers in other countries pushing for a change in legislation), and more.
However, it may also lead to far greater poverty than earlier.
In the 1970/1980s, crime in the USA was at its peak, and had been rising for decades. Murder, property theft, larceny, rape- all of these were practically pervasive in an American citizen’s life. People were afraid to step out owing to the proliferation of violent crimes.
In the 1990s, the crime rate drastically began to fall. This continued until the present day, where the crime rate is fortunately but a shadow of its former self in the 1970/80s.
People often puzzled over the reason for such a drastic yet unforeseen fall. Experts pointed at a booming economy, better policing, busts in the drug market- yet, none of these were seen as truly sufficient explanations.
The absolute biggest reason for the drop in crime rate was…
The criminals disappeared.
Yes, that is the truth. The criminals simply disappeared.
Why was this?
It was due to abortion.
In 1973, Roe V Wade was passed by the court. In the year immediately following this decision, almost a million American women underwent abortion procedures. Of course, the impact of abortion on the crime rate was not immediately noticed.
In the early 90s though, we began to witness a change.
Some context would prove useful:
If a pregnant woman seeks an abortion, in most cases, it is highly likely that she is using her judgement in a most sensible manner- no one apart from the woman herself can have a truly fair insight into her own life! She may be too poor to raise children, may be a teen (would-be) mother, may not consider her mental state stable enough to bear the psychological burdens of raising a family- I could go on and on with a list of plausible reasons.
Countries such as Romania (in 1966), where abortion was made illegal to incentivise childbearing and contribute to population growth, witnessed 2 major trends:
- An increase in unsafe abortions, and consequent high maternal mortality rates- this shows that many women who want to abort the foetus will find easy to do so, even if it comes at a risk to their own health at an exorbitant cost.
- A massive increase in poverty- children born into a common man’s family found themselves growing up in a household incapable of supporting them. Data points at lower test scores, markedly worse performances in school, increased poverty due to being dumped in orphanages…and crime.
Most readers will have pieced together the idea that I’ve been skirting around:
The millions of American women who aborted their children after Roe V Wade resulted in millions of would-be criminals simply not being born in the first place. If a child was forced to grow up in America in the 1980s in an uneducated single mother’s house, all statistical data points at that child turning to crime- particularly exacerbated if he was African-American. This means that the millions of criminals who would have entered their late teens around the 1990s and begun to turn to crime (owing to their poverty), simply weren’t born.
Clearly, abortion serves as an extremely effective means of curtailing crime- by ensuring socioeconomic welfare. In fact, research has shown that abortion played a bigger role in crime reduction than hiring more police officers, expanding the prison system, and a collapse of the drug market. For example, abortion led to a reduction in violent crime by 47% and property crime by 33% from 1991-2014.
Now that abortion has been banned in certain states, with scope for further crackdowns, we can expect a similar trend to arise again- greater poverty, and greater crimes as a vicious cycle of the poor begetting more of the poor is perpetuated. Granted, the conditions in the USA are not as extreme as that of Romania, or the 1980s. However, it is still a dangerous indicator of what is to come. Storm clouds have already gathered at the horizon of the Land Of The Free- it is upto legislators to take steps that allow for a restoration of crucial rights and a dismantling of a politically charged patriarchy.