Progression or regression?

Student views on whether United States is moving forward with potential Roe v. Wade overturn

Perris Larson, Staff Writer

Illustration by Megan Siemering

On May 2, a Supreme Court draft was leaked to the public in regards to a potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, a decision from 1973 that made abortion legal. But now that that decision is being held in jeopardy by the Supreme Court, some people are viewing it as a show of progress while some believe it is backward thinking.

Junior biology major Kathyrn VanMaanan believes the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is equivalent to the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire.

“It is actually a common thread through most declining civilizations. In general, declining civilizations see things that are happening in the USA right now—overspending on the military, corruption of the government, and widening gaps between the rich and poor,” VanMaanan said. “There is a higher regard for those with power, and the sort of disregard for and oppression of marginalized groups that you see happening in far too many places in this country.”

Since the idea of legalizing abortion was widely considered a step in the right directions during the 1970s, overturning the decision in 2022 may be met with hostility and fear of further regression.

Senior communications major Raven Vick is fearful for the outcome, and is concerned that the decision will spark further changes against accessible healthcare.

“It it is a really scary thing, because it does not just affect abortion. There are other states that want to overturn another bill that would make contraceptives harder to access,” Vick said. “We had made great strides to get Roe v. Wade in place, and now that we’re going back, it shows how much control the government is trying to have over reproductive systems.”

Sophomore psychology major Charlotte Howell feels that people who are pro-life should focus on other prevalent issues regarding healthcare rather than criminalizing abortion.

“I feel like if you are pro-life, you would focus more on sexual education and helping women,” Howell said. “I wish the country would be more united, and I feel this is just another way that it is not.”

Abortion is usually an emotionally charged topic. The leaked draft is proof that the morality of it will always be in question. For some, it is considered murder; for others, it is a basic human right. But by making abortion illegal, people are fearful that pregnant individuals will get abortions in unsafe conditions, risking their own health in the process.

“It is not going to decrease the number of abortions, it is going to decrease the number of safe abortions,” Vick said.

While pro-choice supporters are concerned for the safety of individuals who will undergo abortions regardless of it being legal, pro-life supporters believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will lead to more value on human life.

Junior creative writing major and president of Present Hope, Seattle Pacific’s pro-life club, Sally Beaudette is hopeful Roe v.Wade will be overturned. She believes it will set a precedent to value all life, regardless of viability.

“Many people are concerned that overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn’t decrease abortions, only encourage unsafe ones, but the reason that I want abortion to be illegal is that a successful abortion already has a 100% mortality rate,” Beaudette said. “While most things that are illegal continue to happen to some extent, laws preventing an action go a long way towards changing the culture surrounding the issue in question.”

Elizabeth Cortes, sophomore nursing major and vice president and treasurer of Present Hope, also believes it is not a step toward regression for the United States.

“While it’s true that we would be legally overturning a standing Supreme Court decision, it’s a decision that was never constitutional to begin with,” Cortes said. “Before liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all people have a fundamental right to life. Getting rid of laws, when those laws are outdated and harmful, is not regressive.”

People who are in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade hope it will lead to further process toward sex education and more accessible healthcare. There are people who believe pregnant people in society are pressured to get abortions and hope that pressure will subside if the decision is overturned.

“It is our culture that is, in part, to blame for women seeking “unsafe” abortions: We treat abortion as a last-resort form of birth control that women need access to in order to remain empowered. We ascribe women and men’s values based on how much they can contribute to the workforce. When we as a nation value all human life, not based on merit, or anything other than personhood, women won’t feel as forced to seek abortions,” Beaudette said.

Senior English major Tobias Sednef is pro-life, but can understand both points of view on the matter.

“For someone who is pro-choice, this will probably be a regression, a sort of diminishing of womens health rights. For the pro-life, it is a progression and further protection for the unborn,” Sednef said.