This past June, the United States faced a shocking change: the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Women across the country were shaken as their right to abortion was put in the hands of individual state governments. From that point, many states diverged onto different paths of how to handle this change.
A lot of states expanded access to abortion, like New Jersey, or protected the rights to abortion. On the other hand, 13 states created a more hostile status towards abortion and 12 states officially made abortion illegal. One of the states that ruled abortion illegal is Arizona.
On Sept. 23, an Arizona judge emphasized the illegality of abortion by reviving a law from 1864 banning nearly all abortions. The law makes it so the only women who can receive abortions are those whose lives are at risk due to the pregnancy. The revival of this law has left abortion clinics warning women to flee the state if they are in need of an abortion, a response to the law that increases the stress these women are already facing with their unwanted pregnancies.
The only solace for women of Arizona has been Republican attorney Rachel Mitchell’s claim that she will not prosecute any woman who has had an abortion. However, this claim does not involve the doctors who perform the abortions, leaving them susceptible to prosecution.
Lawmakers should not be able to reinstate laws that are deemed outdated. It causes unnecessary stress and, in this situation, was unwanted from the very beginning. The government should not be able to enforce strict laws that govern the personal lives of American citizens. Laws are supposed to protect the community, not estrange the individual.
There is a reason why these laws are termed “outdated.” The flow of time has made them irrelevant to society. That is why this abortion ban was repealed in the first place, the legislation from Roe v. Wade was enforced to coincide with the changing times. However, the United States is a country built on structure and tradition, despite the term “revolution” being commonly used to refer to our history.
The United States has a common theme of maintaining outdated laws. Another politically controversial example is the second amendment. The second amendment was made in 1791 when the only guns in existence were flintlock pistols and muskets. This is nothing like the guns in present-day America, with assault rifles that easily fall into the hands of the wrong people. And yet, we keep this law the way it was originally written.
To bring back an outdated law that impacts the control a woman has over her body is immoral. There are women who cannot afford to carry a fetus or are carrying a fetus that was forced upon them. To turn around and outright deny those women the right to make a choice about their own body with a law that was made 158 years ago is wrong and throws away the value America fights so hard to protect: the value of freedom for all.
Photo courtesy of Brett Sayles, Pexels.