Roe v Wade, the landmark decision which protected a woman’s right to seek a safe, legal abortion, has officially been overturned in the United States. What does this mean? Essentially that a woman is not able to decide for herself, whether or not she would like to carry a pregnancy to term. In some states, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, the woman is still not able to terminate.
Understandably, the world is appalled by the decision, which undermines the very right to bodily autonomy. There is no telling just how far-reaching this ruling will be and what the global fallout might entail, but women around the world are furious.
Below, find a list of the solidarity rallies taking place across Australia this week, where you can protest the shocking decision.
Not only is this decision a threat to women’s freedom and rights over their own bodies, but it’s a harrowing reminder of the significant disadvantage uterus-owners continue to face across their lifespan.
America will now have incredibly patchy laws when it comes to the access rights for abortion across the country. Prior to the ruling, 22 states had trigger laws in place which would immediately ban the procedure, with 17 states putting this into action within 12 hours of the ruling.
While some laws will enact harsher laws than others, it remains unclear whether women will be prosecuted for crossing state lines in order to seek an abortion in a territory which has more lax regulations. According to a website associated with Planned Parenthood, it remains legal to travel out of state to get an abortion, but it is unclear if this will change over time.
While we are incredibly privileged with abortion legislation in Australia, experts are warning that no country should get too comfortable, with the landmark decision having the potential to influence or reverse other rights including same-sex marriage and contraception. It has also been argued that the ruling may give conservative groups more confidence to fight against these social issues more forcefully.
In a post last month, Amnesty International wrote:
“Any regression in protection of the right to abortion would not only stand to damage the global perception of the United States; it would also set a terrible example that other governments and anti-rights groups could seize upon around the world in a bid to deny the rights of women, girls and other people who can become pregnant,” the organisation argued. “Overturning Roe vs Wade would become the symbol of a major backlash all over the world, putting recent progress at risk and endangering the health and lives of millions.”
Attending a rally in Australia is a small way we can show our solidarity with women in America. It’s time to make some noise.