Opinion: The price of overturning Roe

Published: 6/29/2022 6:02:49 AM
Modified: 6/29/2022 6:00:14 AM

Victoria Chen lives in Concord.

Sitting in my dorm room this past spring, I remember my roommate showing me the leaked SCOTUS draft. I’ve become increasingly wary of Instagram and was sure that it was clickbait, posted by some unreliable account trying to get views.

(Funnily enough, it’s interesting how this feeling is becoming a pattern. I felt the same confidence that the headlines on January 6th were also clickbait titles, startled to discover they were true).

With the recent official announcement of the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, it’s clear I’ve taken the stability of America for granted. 

As a young twenty-year-old woman who’s been lucky enough to come home from college and pursue my interests, nothing has enforced how much of a privilege this freedom is then the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Although summer is relatively long, as someone who hopes to have a family someday, I feel an urgency to spend it well, acutely aware of the ever-dwindling amount of time I have to spend on me and my aspirations before I’m constrained by my future family.

This is not to say a family necessarily holds one back, but it certainly limits one’s individual freedom; that’s simply a reality. Although I’m sure many who want a family someday face this dilemma, I genuinely don’t know if men feel the same urgency. Perhaps they do, perhaps they don’t. Regardless, as the overturning of Roe vs. Wade alters the course of many women’s lives, the precious freedom of my youth is being starkly reinforced. 

Watching the news, I hear a lot about the ethics of abortion being debated and extreme scenarios being argued on both sides for and against it. Yet, one important aspect that’s been left out of the conversation is how, for many, the price of overturning Roe vs. Wade is paid for in American women’s dreams.

Starting a family requires extreme sacrifice, financially but also energy-wise, diverting resources away from one’s personal aspirations. And particularly for women, the balance between work and family is precarious.

Traditionally, women are expected to want a family, then they’re expected to care for it. The reality is that the overturning of Roe vs. Wade is one more stitch in a long pattern of women having to sacrifice themselves for others.

As someone who’s grown up with a mother who always eats the leftovers, always rifles through the clearance rack, refusing to spend money on herself when it could be spent on my brother and me, I can’t help but think of all the mothers out there who didn’t plan for a child and are going to have to sacrifice their own personal dreams, or at least postpone them for decades, to care for a child (women who face just as emotionally damning options as “alternatives.”)

Although I don’t believe pro-life opinions are rooted in malice, I do think they are a result of women’s dreams being deemed as less important than their maternal duties. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade is paid for in the dreams of American women everywhere. Is that a fair price to pay? Those who adamantly argue that stopping abortion means saving a life must also answer this question. 

As a young person with a lot of learning to do, I can’t be certain about certain moral stances or rebut every controversial scenario, but I can recognize the immense sacrifice the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade forces on women.

I can’t help but wonder, when will women get to be a priority?

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