"I wish I had more hope": The Story of a Nation Hanging by a Thread

by Alba

Image: The San Diego Union Tribune


Reproductive rights have been a recurring topic in the news. While some countries have been furthering the right to bodily autonomy by legalising abortions, other nations have been moving backwards, at a terrifying speed. Poland was one of these, and it has seen the consequences, as the first death relating to a lack of access to abortion has been reported. This has caused public outcry, with organizations such as Amnesty International calling for the repealing of the law and the promotion of safe access to reproductive care, including safe abortions.


In tandem to an increased control over women’s reproductive freedom in Eastern Europe came a rise in conservative, pro-life legislation in the United States. The passing of Texas Senate Bill 8, which effectively banned abortion after 6 weeks, opened the floodgates to the passing of highly restrictive abortion legislation in “the land of the free”. Most recently, a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks has been brought to the Supreme Court. The law was originally passed in 2018, however immediately blocked due to a legal challenge in the context of Roe v Wade. Now, due to a significant conservative majority in the Supreme Court, the law may be passed and create a new standing for reproductive freedom in the USA.


With the reevaluation of the Mississippi law comes uncertainty across the United States regarding the future of reproductive freedom and women’s rights. I had the privilege of attending a protest at the United States Supreme Court. Amongst the masses of women toting signs reading “Rosaries off my Ovaries” and “Bans off our Bodies” , were large posters condemning women seeking abortions by quoting the bible. Young pro-life advocates uniformed in blue stood in groups, baptising themselves the “post-Roe generation”, and received approving nods from men in bright orange sweatshirts that pleaded anyone reading them to seek Jesus. Heated arguments broke out between members, as the Supreme Court justices defined the fate of a nation inside.


Emotions in the crowd ran rampant. The quote that stuck with me the most was from a conversation I had with a protester at the steps of the Supreme Court. She told me: “I am praying it doesn’t get overturned” and then “I wish I had more hope”, a sense of defeat contaminating her inspiring demeanor. A people left powerless is the most disheartening thing to see, and seeing it first hand left me terrified.

 

Alba is a full-time member of the OnJustice Group




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