(The Valley Reporter is continuing its series of editorials exploring the consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.)
With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24, many are wondering what rights will be next to go. In his concurring opinion on the decision, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that the highest court in the land should reconsider past rulings on access to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965) and same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015). With overturning these crucial decisions potentially coming down the pike, rights would be taken away from millions more Americans.
Conservatives like to talk about a limited government that doesn’t interfere with the rights of American citizens, but what about the rights of women and LGBTQ+ folks over their own bodies and marriages? These matters should belong to the people involved, not the government. Don’t support access to abortion? Don’t get one. Don’t support the right of LGBTQ+ couples to marry? Don’t marry someone of the same sex. No one is forcing anything upon people against these rights but instead limiting those who need and deserve these protections.
Without access to contraception or abortion and other reproductive health care, women, trans and nonbinary folks lose the right to control their own bodies and lives. Without these rights, many will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, keeping many in poverty. Having a baby is a life-changing decision that should be up to the pregnant person, not anyone else. Without access to safe abortions, many will pursue alternative methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies, risking their health and even lives.
Without the right to marry, LGBTQ+ Americans lose a basic right afforded to heterosexual couples. That would turn back the clock on progress and undoing the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, along with inalienable rights we believed were guaranteed decades ago.
Let’s not go back to a time when same-sex couples weren’t afforded the basic rights given to heterosexual couples (many, including myself, would argue we still have a long way to go on that front) and women, trans and nonbinary people could safely make decisions about their own bodies. These Supreme Court decisions threaten the freedom of our society.