The recent United States Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) decision has put abortion in the national spotlight. Now the power of deciding the legality of abortion has reverted back to the states, where Republican state legislatures will outlaw or criminalize abortion and Democrat-controlled states will legalize abortion in accordance with the Roe v. Wade (1973) decision. The two sides are on opposite ends of such an issue, but there is a way for Democrats and Republicans to agree on legislation. The solution lies with the American people. Instead of pushing partisan policies, politicians must form legislation that reflects the standings of the majority of Americans. By doing this, the American people are represented and the health of women is protected.
The topic of abortion is incredibly politicized. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May 2022, 50% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some limited circumstances, which includes preganancies in teens as a result of rape, incest or disability, or where the birth may be harmful to the mother’s life. But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have put forth legislation that addresses all of these aspects of the debate. According to The Atlantic, “more than 60% of Americans say abortion ‘should be generally legal’ in the first three months of a pregnancy.”
It is clear the majority of American people approve of access to abortion within the first trimester. The majority of the American people also believe abortion should be permitted in the circumstances mentioned in the previous paragraph. Our legislators are not listening to us and use their own agendas to form legislation that does not reflect what the majority of us want.
Many Republicans want to ban legal abortion, but do not offer effective alternatives that will aid in the issue. Republican senators like Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cite use of the foster care system as an alternative to abortion, but fail to address its significant flaws. According to Foster America, 50% of foster children will not graduate high school on time and children in contact with the child welfare system make up 70% of the juvenile detention population. It is obvious that current initiatives are not working and more must be done to further fund the foster care system through taxpayer dollars or private funding from major corporations and individuals.
Many Democrats argue that access to abortion should be legal in most instances. Democrats have campaigned on the issue and have attempted to rally voters around future action to protect reproductive rights. Rallies were especially seen following the reversal of Roe v. Wade. On June 25, the day after the Dobbs v. Jackson, protests occurred in front of the Supreme Court building. Georgetown University is no stranger to the abortion issue. We must continue to do more and fight against the decisiveness that is damaging the lives of American women.
As Georgetown students, we have the advantage of being able to lead protests in our nation’s capital. Just this past summer, H*yas for Choice organized student protests at the Supreme Court to combat the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. We can be an impactful voice for the voiceless. We must continue to fight for abortion legislation that protects the health of women. We must lead conversations with our representatives, Democrat and Republican, to bridge the gap between the divide. Abortion must be legal, and as Hoyas, we need to lead the dialogue in order to make lasting change.
I understand that abortion is decisive and there are many opinions regarding what should be done. Georgetown is no stranger to this division simply because we are a community with perspectives from all over America. In addition to dialogue between our representatives, I believe there is a need for dialogue within the Georgetown community. By understanding each other and engaging in conversation instead of polarization, we can grow knowledge and influence the future of abortion legislation.
Sean Moran is a freshman in the College. His column Rejecting Polarization appears online and in print every third week.