On January 22, 1973, abortion was legalized across the United States. Here we are now in 2023, and things have drastically changed. To understand how amazingly far we have come to reverse what happened on January 22, 1973, we have to look back at the chain of events that led us here.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled (7–2) in favor of a Texas woman, who, under the fictional name of Jane Roe, was challenging Texas’ abortion law in pursuit of a right to abortion access. This Supreme Court decision held that then-current abortion regulations impeded on a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. Therefore, siding in favor of Ms. Roe made this case historic; abortions were made widely accessible to those seeking them in the United States.
Almost 20 years later, in 1992, Roe v. Wade was tested as the Supreme Court decided on the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The Court then ruled (5-4) that individual states have the right to establish and pass restrictions on abortion access — as long as the restrictions don’t cause an “undue burden” on the women seeking an abortion.
As the years passed, pro-abortionists and pro-lifers, within political parties and individual communities, did everything they could to fight for their sides. Many conservative states implemented abortion restrictions in the hope of eventually seeing the overturn of Roe. v. Wade, while many liberal states doubled down on abortion access.
In the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, stood with the pro-abortion movement and promised to repeal restrictions on public funding for abortion if she won the presidential race. Despite Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s efforts, Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected president. In 2020, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, which gave the Court a 6-3 conservative majority when she was confirmed.
The efforts of advocates for the right to life and those who served as a voice for the voiceless ultimately bore fruit. On June 24th, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned and the right to regulate abortion was returned back to the states and their constituents. After nearly 50 years of abortion being protected nationwide under the right to privacy and countless fetuses being killed, this unjust protection of abortion came to a much-anticipated end in many states.
On this year’s anniversary of the Roe v. Wade judgment being passed, we can, with heavy yet hopeful hearts, be grateful that this is the first year to be celebrated in light of Roe’s monumental overturning. There is not a day that goes by where the babies unjustly lost due to abortion for the last 50 years aren’t mourned. Pro-life activists’ work to protect children from abortion continues now with more determination than ever in a post-Roe America. May every January 22nd be seen as a display of the effective work of those who fought for the unborn and as a reminder of the work yet to be done.