On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, putting an end to 49 years of federally protected abortion rights. The decision will allow states to enforce their own abortion laws. 22 states, including Alabama, have immediately put laws into effect that will either heavily restrict or entirely ban abortion. UAB students have joined the scores of voices speaking out on this landmark decision.
“I’m afraid for women all over the country and I’m afraid they will take away more rights from marginalized groups,” said Lily Elena, an incoming freshman. “It feels as if they overturned it to see if they could—as a base for what they could possibly do next. Such as, ‘We overturned Roe;we can totally do the same for gay marriage.’ It’s just a scary time.”
In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas called for cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges to be “reconsidered” as well. The rulings of these cases are notable for establishing protected rights to contraception, sodomy and same-sex marriage, respectively.
While many students shared that the ruling left them feeling dejected, some acutely expressed their frustration. “I’m angry. Devastated. Anyone who is celebrating today can go straight to hell,” said Kate Miller, a sophomore at UAB. “People who are celebrating today either refuse to recognize or just don’t care that women are going to die because of this—women with feelings, jobs, families, lives—because abortion is healthcare.”
In the aftermath of Friday’s ruling, several Alabama law officials spoke out in support of the decision. “In 2019, I was proud to sign into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which is one of the strongest bans on abortion in the country,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “Currently, there is a halt by a federal judge on the enforcement of that law, but now that Roe is overturned, the state will immediately ask the court to strike down any legal barriers to enforcing this law.”
“Alabama’s law making elective abortions a felony is now enforceable,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall. “Anyone who takes an unborn life in violation of the law will be prosecuted, with penalties ranging from 10 to 99 years for abortion providers.”
“State legislatures are run by people who apparently have very little regard for women’s privacy and choices,” said Anthony Venezia, a junior at UAB.
For some, outrage has given way to sorrow. “I’m heartbroken,” said Claire Frederick, another junior at UAB. “This is a disappointing step back in our nation’s history.”