On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade, landmark legislation holding back anti-abortion laws on the state level. Americans have been the most divided as a nation since last week.
THE SUPREME COURT HAS OVERTURNED ROE V. WADE, ELIMINATING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO ABORTION.https://t.co/ZNYRs3QnpJ
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 24, 2022
The division is apparent even inside the ranks of religious organizations. Jewish sects dismissed the decision calling it an infringement on their religious rights to abortion. Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, insists that the Friday ruling is a "violation of both Jewish law and tradition and American religious liberty."
BREAKING: #SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade — This decision is a horrific violation of human and civil rights, and will cause immeasurable harm to millions who have just lost access to safe and legal health care. We grieve, but we are not giving up.
— National Council of Jewish Women (@NCJW) June 24, 2022
Muslim advocacy groups are equally dismayed. Nadiah Mohajir of the Heart Women and Girls said most Muslim Americans support access to abortion. "What we're seeing here is a very small minority of privileged people who are trying to impose a narrow Christian understanding of when life begins," Mohajir said.
The United Church of Christ released a joint statement calling the decision an endangerment of "lives and well-being of birthing people who do not choose to continue the pregnancy."
But the more substantial religious camps are calling it a victory, others claiming it as a completion of their spiritual journey. Tanya Britton, a Catholic from Mississippi, said she finally had the answer to what she had prayed for, for decades.
"Let it be that one child be saved today; let it be that Roe v. Wade be overturned," Britton prayed.
Britton, the president of Pro-Life Mississippi, has been traveling around the country pushing her anti-abortion agenda. She's one of the anti-abortion activists who proudly displays "grotesque photos of aborted late-term remains" to discourage patients from getting abortions.
She has also been arrested multiple times.
But the fault line is more apparent along the political lines. Despite being a Catholic, President Joe Biden vowed to fight the court's ruling through legislation. "This is not over," he warned after calling Friday a "a sad day for the court and the country."
"Let's be very clear, the health and life of women across this nation are now at risk," President Biden said.
Nancy Pelosi, the democratic house speaker, called the decision "outrageous and heart-wrenching." Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts decried the Supreme Court, saying it has lost its legitimacy.
"They have burned whatever legitimacy they still may have had after their gun decision, after their voting decision, after their union decision," Sen. Warren lamented.
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, professor of political science and religious studies at Northwestern University in Illinois, called abortion a secular and religious issue. "The idea that it is either/or is a distraction," Hurd added.
Joanna Grisinger, professor of instruction and director of legal studies at Northwestern, claims that the ruling will disrupt previously settled issues on the Fourteenth Amendment.
Despite being a religious-turned-political issue, one of the most critical perspectives has been largely left unattended. But the medical field is standing its ground regarding the legitimacy and life-saving benefits of abortion.
In an open letter published in the Action Network, a non-profit that uses technology to drive progressive organizations, thousands of healthcare professionals called upon the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v Wade. The letter was published back when Politico broke the news about the draft court document.
— Action Network (@TheActionNet) June 24, 2022
"We want to make crystal clear the consequences to our patient's health if they can no longer access abortions," the letter said.
Now that the court has overturned Roe v Wade, doctors are becoming more concerned about the life-threatening implications of the ruling.
In an interview with PBS, Dr. Jamila Perritt, president of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said the ruling will impact reproductive health across the board "in a really devastating way."
"Not to mention the implications that we're going to see for things like infertility care, management of pregnancy loss, and maternal mortality and morbidity," Dr. Perritt added.
The American Academy of Family Physicians also condemned the court's decision, calling the Friday ruling a "dark day."
"It's unfathomable; it's unfair," the academy's statement said.
Global reproductive and women's rights groups have condemned the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations, warned that "overturning of the constitutional right to abortion will have far-reaching effects around the globe."
Sarah Shaw, head of MSI Reproductive Choice, a global provider of safe abortion services and contraceptives, echoes the UNFPA's concerns. Shaw also warned that the decision would have an impact far beyond the U.S.'s borders.
Despite the gloomy prediction, Shaw is hopeful that the pro-choice community will continue fighting. The ruling "has also motivated the global community to reassert the right to choose," she added.