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Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women

Introduction

Today’s paradigm of democratic values demonstrates an increased degree of recognition of human rights. However, the complexity and controversy of the social landscape contribute to the emergence of heated debates. More specifically, the exact scope of rights to be protected remains subject to different interpretations as various worldviews collide. In this context, women’s reproductive rights have been associated with a particularly strong degree of controversy. There have been active discussions regarding abortions across various settings. While one side recognizes them as an integral human right reflecting women’s agency in making their own decision, the other perspective refuses to accept abortions.

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Moreover, even though abortions are not subject to nationwide bans in the United States, their accessibility and affordability pose reasons for concern. In many cases, women who are not ready to give birth are forced to endure considerable expenditures in order to terminate a pregnancy. The proponents of affordable abortions argue that such situations increase the percentage of unwanted children in orphanages while contributing to the levels of poverty in other cases. This paper examines the issue of abortion affordability as a public health and human right concern from legal and judicial perspectives.

Policy Background

The lack of access to affordable abortions has become a major concern on a worldwide level, comprising the United States. This situation may be deemed as a direct violation of women’s reproductive rights. More specifically, childbirth is supposed to be a voluntary, informed, and thoughtful decision at all times. Otherwise, the lives of both parents and children are compromised, as the lack of willingness, combined with physical and financial unpreparedness, contribute to poorer quality of life for them. The world’s leading organizations, such as UNICEF and the World Bank, report that over 153 million children are orphans, with 69 million suffering from malnutrition (SOS Children’s Villages, 2021). As per the Children’s Defense Fund (2020), a child is abused or neglected in the United States every 47 seconds. These statistics are instigated by the cases of unwanted childbirth when parents either abandon them or become unable to provide sustenance. Accordingly, the lack of access to affordable abortions results in serious repercussions for women, their partners, unwanted children, and the government. Statistics imply that this problem has attained the scale of a crisis, requiring the immediate attention of the policy-makers.

Facts of the Case

There have been varying approaches to the discussed issue within the legislative frameworks of different nations and states. As new impediments to women’s reproductive rights emerge, situations often escalate to the level of the judicial system. In 2019, the case of June Medical v. Russo was heard in the Supreme Court of the United States. According to the facts of the case, the State of Louisiana was to introduce Act 620, which would oblige physicians to provide privileges for abortion patients living within a thirty-mile radius (SCOTUS, 2020). The contents of the Act were nearly identical to a similar bill proposed by the State of Texas prior to this particular case. Therefore, serious geographical restrictions were imposed on the women of Louisiana. The professional community did not approve of the initiative, taking the case to a district court.

However, a feasible solution was not provided, prompting the plaintiffs to address the Supreme Court. The appeal was made by June Medical Services, L. L. C., and Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals Interim Secretary was the defendant. According to the plaintiffs, Act 620 was unconstitutional, violating women’s reproductive rights by imposing unnecessary restrictions on their access to abortions. In other words, admission privileges infringe on the inherent right of each woman to exercise agency over her body. The Supreme Court accepted this case and investigated the facts pertinent to the discussion.

Reasoning and Opinions

Following the analysis of the case facts, the Supreme Court provided a final verdict that put disputes to an end. More specifically, the majority vote decided that Act 620 was, indeed, unconstitutional and, thus, could not take effect in Louisiana (SCOTUS, 2020). The 5-4 ruling of the Court was supported by Justice Breyer, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan. According to this verdict, the design of the Act placed an undue burden on the patient-physician relationship. Furthermore, the Justices relied on precedents, namely the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Within the framework of the prior discussion, similar cases were found to violate the Constitution of the United States. However, the Court acknowledged the more profound degree to which Act 620 was projected to undermine women’s reproductive rights. The majority opinion suggests that this sphere of public health cannot be subject to privilege, as it would create serious disparities (Ward, 2020). Consequently, the impact on women’s reproductive rights would be profound and lasting, translating into major issues related to the health and well-being of parents and their children.

Analysis and Conclusions

The discussed case is highly interesting on several levels because of its direct relation to the area of reproductive rights and public health. First of all, even though the situation has already become concerning, new restrictions on abortion access continue to be introduced on a regular basis. The authors of the bill disregarded the precedents in which the Supreme Court proclaimed such initiatives unconstitutional. Even the though the attempts made by the State of Texas witnessed serious resistance and were halted, the State of Louisiana resumed the development of the Act (Spindelman, 2020). It is possible that the policy-makers behind such initiatives cannot appraise the broader context of the matter. As discussed above, the impact of the women’s reproductive right infringement extends beyond its immediate impact.

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If they are denied their constitutional rights, the consequences can be damaging. Women and their physicians would no longer be able to maintain trusting relations, and the paradigm of public health will be negatively affected. Furthermore, child abandonment remains a serious problem in the United States, and it largely stems from the discussed issues. The impediments to affordable abortions prompt women to give birth to unwanted children, and few of the parents refuse to accept their new roles. On the contrary, the children become orphans subject to major challenges and systemic disparities over many years. In other cases, such families are often unable to ensure basic sustenance, contributing to the increasing levels of child neglect and abuse. As a result, the system needs to increase the emphasis on the precedents set by the Supreme Court in order to prevent unconstitutional attempts to infringe on women’s reproductive rights. This way, the country will see better chances of establishing an effective public health paradigm end ensuring the well-being of its residents.

References

Children’s Defense Fund. The State of America’s Children® 2020. Web.

SOS Children’s Villages. (2021). Children’s statistics: U.N. data on the plights of Children. Web.

Spindelman, M. (2020). Embracing Casey: June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo and the constitutionality of reason-based abortion bans. Georgetown Law Journal Online, 115. Web.

Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). (2020). June Medical Services L. L. C. Et Al. v. Russo, Interim Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Web.

Ward, P. (2020). What is the (undue) burden for reversing precedent? Analysis of June Medical Services v. Russo in a newly configured Supreme Court. SSRN. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, October 28). Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/affordable-abortions-as-a-reproductive-right-of-women/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, October 28). Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women. https://studycorgi.com/affordable-abortions-as-a-reproductive-right-of-women/

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StudyCorgi. "Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women." October 28, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/affordable-abortions-as-a-reproductive-right-of-women/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women." October 28, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/affordable-abortions-as-a-reproductive-right-of-women/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Affordable Abortions as a Reproductive Right of Women'. 28 October.

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