Decided in 1973, the Roe v. Wade case forbade states from establishing laws that banned abortion. It gave women the right to have an abortion in any US state up until their third trimester. The ruling of this case has led to an ongoing abortion debate throughout the nation. Anthony Kennedy, a Justice of the Supreme Court, is known for having a “swing vote” in many Supreme Court decisions. However, people fear that a Republican President may choose to replace Kennedy. Kennedy’s vote has always been important in the abortion cases. If he were replaced, there is fear that Roe v. Wade may be overturned. This would allow states to enact laws against abortion at any point in the pregnancy if they so desire.
If Roe v. Wade was overturned, the likelihood that we would see any variation in the amount of abortions in the US would be slim. More problems may arise than would be solved in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned. If it was, there are about 20-25 states that would immediately enact laws against abortion. This would make it more difficult for females to find a doctor offering abortion services. However, it would not stop them from having abortions. Females will either go to the states offering abortion services or find other means that are less safe and healthy than finding an available doctor. Overturning Roe v. Wade would theoretically eliminate 170 doctors providing abortion services, which is less than 10% of all services available in the US.
Overturning Roe v. Wade will pose serious health and financial burdens. As mentioned before, females will take more risky measures to have an abortion. Those who decide to keep their baby are immediately faced with the high hospital costs and medical costs associated with having a baby. Consequently, more women may consider taking contraceptives to prevent pregnancy in the first place. However, this too can be expensive because many health insurance plans do not cover contraceptives. If they do offer coverage, there is often a high out-of-pocket charge for the contraceptive prescription. Also, there are very few health insurance companies that offer abortion coverage (most are private insurance companies). It is likely that these health insurance companies will establish much higher costs in the states that would choose to allow abortion after overturning Roe v. Wade.
The replacement of Anthony Kennedy is not an immediate concern, but it is a possibility in the near future. Kennedy’s retirement should not be in question because he is not likely to retire soon. The only imminent threat to his position would be a Republican president, who may choose to replace Kennedy with a candidate who opposes abortion. This decision, however, would have many repercussions and may not solve any abortion issues.