July 21, 2022

WISE-ROJAS | Roe v. Wade: A Queer College Student Perspective

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Content warning: This article contains mention of terminated pregnancies, sexual assault, and suicide

My heart sank to my stomach when I read the headline “Roe v. Wade Overturned.” I couldn’t believe that something like the right to abortion could be overturned, especially as a queer college student with a uterus in today’s society. Now, we’re going back in time, progressing rapidly backwards rather than forwards. I don’t even want to think what would happen if there was no way to legally get an abortion. I’m thankful that some states have their own protections, and grateful that I happen to live in some of those states. But, god forbid there’s a girl in a state where abortion is now illegal who is a victim of sexual assault and now has to carry a baby to term while not even being old enough to buy a fish from PetSmart. What’s even worse is the domino effect that the Roe reversal can have on other rights, such as LGBTQ+ rights; I’m part of both communities and I’m struggling to cope with the potential implications.

There’s something wrong here. I talked about gun violence in a previous column. Why are guns accessible but women’s health care is not? People then wonder why young people have some of the highest suicide rates today. Mental health is partially influenced by  social factors and pressures. Sure, mental health issues are a mixture of nature and nurture, unique to each individual. However, it doesn’t help when your country is telling you that your body doesn’t matter. Being able to have control over your body is treated as a privilege today, when it should be treated as a right. 

Why do I (and others) suffer the consequences of laws made by a governing body that is an inaccurate representation of the American people, subject to horror stories of young women decades ago doing harmful things to terminate their pregnancies? One of the reasons for this digression of rights is the United States Supreme Court; established in the late 1700s, this is a court that is constantly evolving, or at least it should be. A nomination to the Supreme Court is for life. 

Hence, when there’s a majority on the court, we essentially have no way of knowing how long the Supreme Court will stay that way. At least with offices like the President’s, we have a timeline. As the highest court in the land, it can pass revolutionary legislation as easily as it can tear down the same legislation. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Supreme Court does not accurately represent the beliefs of the American people. 

I can never forget the images of protests breaking out in front of the Supreme Court when Roe was reversed. The image of a wire hanger should not haunt the nightmares of scared, young people. Young people are supposed to be hopeful, the vision of a new future. I’m young and scared. We look up to people in power to do the right thing, and it’s hard enough when the Supreme Court doesn’t even represent the ideals that the majority of Americans hold. 

As a matter of fact, I would argue that reproductive health itself is a queer issue. This issue impacts anyone with a uterus, not just women in particular. What if Obergefell, the ruling that gave LGBTQ+ people the right to marriage, is next on the chopping block? It’s not a coincidence that LGBTQ+ rights and abortion rights go hand in hand; WBUR notes how “the same people fighting to limit abortion care are also working to deny transgender and LGBTQ+ people of their health care and identity,.”Adequate abortion care includes transgender, gender neutral, nonbinary and gender inclusive care as well. As a result, the correlation between gender rights and LGBTQ+ rights is immense; as someone who shares both of these identities (as a cis/somewhat genderqueer lesbian woman), I’m terrified.

I wish I had a call to action. I wish I could say “donate to this place and the problem will be resolved” or “go talk to a Supreme Court justice and demand they unreverse it.” You could do those things. Nevertheless, it probably won’t change their mindset. It won’t solve the problem. Usually my columns have some sort of recommendation. I’m not recommending that you go cry in a corner, but in a way, I am. I’m angry. I feel hopeless because of how young I am. I feel powerless. I don’t know what I can do to help.

People who are minorities already suffer enough. Research shows that although same-sex couples cannot biologically create babies, people who identify as someone with same-sex attractions are at a higher risk of sexual assault (hence, they’re going to need abortion care as well). It’s scary enough being a minority of any kind. There’s a reason why suicide and mental health hotlines for minority groups, such as the Trevor Project and RAIIN, exist: sometimes, people think that their lives aren’t worth living in a world where their identities leave them unprotected from the law. The only way to comfort a person distressed by these factors is to validate their feelings and reassure them that you want change, too.

Daniela Wise-Rojas is a rising sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]. She currently serves as Assistant Dining Editor on the 140th Editorial Board. Anything But MunDANIties runs periodically this summer.