S̶p̶e̶a̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ Screaming Out: the voices of those affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade


Relive the day Roe v. Wade was overturned through the experiences of six teenagers as they process, grieve, and explore their anguish.

(This article was originally written Friday, June 24, 2022.) Today Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, stripping more than 50% of the country of their bodily autonomy and right to make their own reproductive decisions. This decision means that the United States no longer recognizes abortion as a constitutional right, and legislation determining the legality of abortion will be dependent on state representatives, respectively. Today, the world is shaken, but this historical moment will, without a doubt, transcend time; today will have unwavering relevance for months and  years to come. 

The implications of this reversal will be cataclysmal, heaving the nation into “a new era of struggle over abortion laws — an era that will be marked by chaos, confusion and human suffering,” per The New York Times. Though more liberal leaning states such as California are unlikely to criminalize abortion, women from across the country will still be in danger. 

Between 13 and 22 states have “trigger laws” designed to ban abortion automatically in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Additionally, about half of the states in the U.S. are expected to enact laws that restrict or make abortion illegal in all or most cases, including rape and incest. It’s anticipated that maternal mortality rates will rise significantly, and women across the country will die due to unsafe means of abortion in areas where it’s outlawed. Reasons cited for this increase include suicide, maternal homicide and domestic violence, pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or maternal sepsis, as well as childbirth complications. A comparative study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that the risk of death during childbirth is 14 times higher than a safe and legal abortion.

Today, 50 years of legal precedent was obliterated, the Supreme Court turned back the clock and set gender equality back by decades. Today, about 64 million women have less power over their own bodies than they had yesterday; additionally, they have less power than their mothers, and even grandmothers, did before them.(The New York Times) As a writer, I typically avoid editorializing or inserting myself into a piece, but I truly don’t know how to write eloquently when this feels so personal. This is an attack on my body, this is an attack on my right to choose, and it’s an attack on the bodies and rights of every woman in the country—every mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I have never felt so absolutely helpless. I am unable to escape the feeling that I am just a powerless little girl, one in a sea of millions, who has been stripped of her agency, and cannot change a thing. I have no voice, I have no say, nobody cares what I think, nobody will listen; I can’t vote, I can’t change people’s minds, I can’t talk about it—there’s nothing I can do. All I have is this laptop. All I can do is clack away at my keyboard, hoping that I may have some kind of effect, that I can use my platform no matter how small it is; Perhaps I can lend this platform to the people around me who are enduring the same pain. So I asked my peers, the girls in my life, to say whatever they wanted—rant, scream, cry, be angry, be anxious, be sad, and express their pain openly, unapologetically, and without hiding for the sake of an unrealistic standard of perfection fabricated by patriarchy. Here’s what they had to say:

3:12pm – Student “A”: “I feel as though the ban on abortion implies a view on women that is animalistic and objective. I know  women have maternal instincts too and know when they cannot handle a baby its so mindless to deny the right to abortion.”

4:42pm – Student “B”: “I’ve always been pro choice and that will never change in my mind. You never know what someone is going through and what their circumstances are. The fact that old people who are mostly men get to choose what we do with our bodies is so freaking messed up… The fact we have been fighting for our rights for so long just to take 50 steps back is ridiculous. I feel sorry for the people this is affecting like the teens, rape victims, and people who are not financially stable enough to take care of a child. They are being forced to have children when that child isn’t even gonna have the best life. Sure, they will grow up but that doesn’t mean that that child is not going to have trauma and bad mental health because of what they went  through. less than 10% of people actually believe that abortions should be illegal and I can’t even believe that this was passed when the majority of people don’t even believe it’s right. Not to mention that even if you take away abortions from women they’re going to find other ways to do it. whether that’s in a safe way or a very very dangerous way. You’re also gonna’ be causing way more harm than good by shutting down places like Planned Parenthood. it’s just a stupid idea because not only do they help with abortions, they also help with many other things like getting birth control. Parents who think that their kids are going to get out of this because of abstinence are stupid. Clearly you do not know enough about your child, obviously not every kid has sex, but a majority of them do, and the fact that you’re taking away stuff that prevents pregnancy is stupid; if you’re such an advocate to safe sex then you shouldn’t be taking the stuff that allows that to happen.”

4:45pm – Student “C”: “I’m just annoyed that they’re doing this because, like, for example, if someone got raped, they would have to keep that baby for the rest of their life. And women should be able to choose what they want to do with their own body. and people who don’t even treat their kids well now, those kids could have been aborted and they wouldn’t have to be treated so harshly.”

7:44pm – Student “D”: “So women are going to have access to free birth control, baby formula, diapers, now, right? And I’m assuming the average $13k+ that it costs to give birth is now covered, right? And then we’ll be given an annual check of $12k-14k for 18 years accounting for the amount it costs to raise a child, correct? no? Then keep your laws off my body. If you take away the right for us to choose what’s best for us, if you force us to have that child that we don’t even have the money to pay for, you better f***** compensate. For many people, being forced to have a child they aren’t ready for means choosing whether the money they’re making at their 9-5 is going to go to food for their baby that they had no choice in having, or to themselves. the government better know that they’re not saving lives, they’re taking them.”

9:08pm – Student “E”: “Overturning Roe vs. Wade and outlawing abortions will never make them go away. Abortions are not going to stop. They are just going to happen unsafely. Saying your “pro-life” yet failing to take into consideration the risk you’re putting women in; by banning safe abortions, you are pro-controlling women and what they do with their bodies. If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. Why are laws about women ‘s bodies being made by men? Whether it’s abortion or divorce, you don’t have to agree with it, but don’t take away that choice from people who need or want it. That’s not up to us to decide unless we’re the ones going through it ourselves. Not everyone can support a child. Not everyone wants to keep a child under many different circumstances. The reality is that you’re pro-life but not pro-paid maternity leave. Pro-life but not pro-affordable, accessible health care. Pro-life but not pro-access to mental health resources for the mother. Pro-life but not pro-changes in the foster system. Pro-life but not pro-guaranteed access to good education. Pro-life but not  pro-increase in wages. Not everyone can safely have a child without it putting the mother at health risks. The treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, a septic uterus, or a miscarriage that your body won’t release is abortion. If you can’t get those abortions, you die. You. Die. And then they want to take into consideration banning all the contraceptives. Like many, my personal beliefs about abortions are different. There are things that I agree and disagree on, but you don’t have to love abortion. You can dislike it. Maybe it even makes you sad. The way you view abortion is up to you. If you don’t like abortion, you can advocate for proper sex education, access to birth control and other things that have been shown to lower unplanned pregnancies. You don’t have to like abortion. But what you can’t do is disrespect somebody for having an abortion. You can’t take away that choice from women because you don’t like it. Your emotions are not somebody else’s responsibility. Your emotions are not more important than anyone else’s bodily autonomy. You don’t have to like abortion, but you have to respect other people’s rights and that includes the right to a safe, accessible, abortion.”

9:26pm – Student “F”: “The overturning of Roe vs. Wade has left me utterly in shock and in disbelief. After 50 or so years of working hard to fight for women’s rights over their body, we woke up in 2022 to have it all thrown away. Everyone has their own opinions on whether to keep a baby or let it go, and either way it should be a woman’s choice. I think it is the most unacceptable thing to allow a man to make a decision on the behalf of a woman’s body. Men do not have to experience anything near what we do when in the birthing process or decision on what to do with a baby. I understand people have different beliefs on the situation, but that’s where pro choice comes in. You’re able to make the choice of keeping the baby or not keeping the baby, but at the end of the day, the decision should be made by a woman and a woman only. It’s so sad to see how we’ve gone backwards in time. I cannot express this enough: guns have more rights than a woman. A woman is a human and the law still supports guns (a physical object that causes harm) more than a human, more specifically, a woman. The countless amounts of school shootings in the past years have lost hundreds if not thousands of lives, yet we continue to do nothing about it. But the minute someone in higher law has an issue with a woman aborting a baby, they begin to ban abortion for all. It baffles me how much the patriarchy remains in society. We’ve come so far to fight for the legalization of abortions, only for it to all be thrown away during a time where women are supposed to have their own rights and their own say. There’s also the topic of separation of church and state which takes a huge part in this. I’ve recognized that there are still some women who agree with the decision made to overturn Roe v. Wade, solely because of their religious beliefs. the entire purpose of having “pro-choice” is so that women are able to choose what they want to do with the baby. It’s beyond unfair that men who are high up get to make the decision on behalf of the women who live in the United States, in which most women disagree with this decision. The decision to nationally ban abortions is immensely upsetting and disappointing in todays society, I hope that we, as women, will be able to gain back our rights over our body without the control of men.”