From Obergefell to Roe, human rights aren’t up for debate


(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Abortion-rights protesters participate in a candlelight vigil for reproductive freedom and abortion rights outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Sunday, June 26, 2022.

Laken Kincaid, Managing Editor

I knew I was going to be a political science major when I was a junior in high school. At the time, it was because I was interested in what happened behind the velvet curtain of the American government; how are decisions made and how do United States citizens choose who makes those decisions? I also had no clue why the electoral college existed and wanted clarification (to be fair, I still don’t understand it but that point is only mildly tangential). 

I chose the major that I did four years ago because I liked the idea of pondering the cogs that make the United States run like a machine. Undoubtedly, the added ego boost of holding a competent conversation about politics held a tiny bit of weight in my decision. While I do truly find joy in examining policies and how they impact the American people across the country, I do not like when a person’s existence and right to individuality is trivialized and put for debate on an ivory-tiled floor. 

Now, as I ponder my degree evaluations and unofficial transcripts, I realize that my main reason for staying in this field is because I hope I can someday understand the twisted, convoluted and hateful thought processes that go through the minds of politicians and officials. This originally started as anger towards my home state’s senator, Joe Manchin, for blocking the “Build Back Better” bill and using the Democratic party as a letterhead rather than as an actual affiliation. Yet, over the last few months, these feelings of rage have turned into that of fear. 

My original slight distrust and intrigue with the United States government was a key factor in provoking my interest and it has since evolved into tethered anxiety. It is like watching a house fire in your neighborhood. You want someone to put out the flames desperately and feel terrible for the people who own the home. However, you also continue to watch out of morbid curiosity wondering just how bad the disaster will become. 

Currently, I examine where society is. We are not on the streets watching the blaze kiss the sky. Rather we are inside the raging heat itself without escape. The laws continue to be made and the court continues to be wrathful. American citizens are being scorched alive.

With the Supreme Court deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade, over 150 million women and people assigned female at birth in the United States now do not have control over their reproductive rights. Their present and future, their lives at large are at the hands of state governments, many of which are just as antagonizing as SCOTUS if not more with their views on abortion and sexual health. Anyone with a uterus, especially those in conservative states like my home state of West Virginia, are at risk of losing everything. An old white man with fewer morals than real teeth can tell them that they were raped or forced to carry a child because it is the will of God. Protect the rights of the unborn but damn them when they enter the world.

As someone who is active on social media, there are multiple arguments present online that I can jump to on this topic. There is so much wrong with the decision reached today. Separation of church and state, putting more children in a failing foster care system and allowing people who have no repercussions and no term limits to do whatever they please comes to mind specifically. I am sure there are millions of articles out there that explain the previously mentioned issues better than I ever could. Nevertheless, what I think needs to be highlighted is that this decision has opened the door for countless other cases to be tossed to the wind. 

After SCOTUS rejoiced that they had turned back the clock to the 1950s, one of the justices, Clarence Thomas, egregiously stated that he hopes other decisions, specifically those of Griswold v. Connecticut (allowing married couples access contraceptives) and Obergefell v. Hodges (allowing same-sex couples to get married) will be reviewed for the sake of due process.

Maybe I am a poor excuse for a political junkie or perhaps I am ill-read, but I believe it is immoral to allow due process to trample a person’s legitimate rights. 

I do not care what any book states and I do not care what any president or legislator has said in the past. When these officials start rewriting the law to fit their own personal agenda (however that may be motivated) and it hurts others who are simply trying to live safe and happy lives, they do not deserve respect.

Why does a tea-stained, crumpling document written with a quill have more of a say on what people can or cannot do than the people themselves? 

Conservatives are just as troublesome as anyone is when watching a neighborhood house fire. However, they are even more despicable because they enjoy viewing the embers collapse within. I can not find any other explanation for this behavior except sadism, a crippling lust for power or drunken self-righteousness, all of which are extremely concerning.  

A gay couple getting married does not prevent you from living a fulfilled life. A woman having an abortion does not prevent you from living a fulfilled life. A married couple using birth control does not prevent you from living a fulfilled life. The justices on the court and politicians supporting these decisions just enjoy knowing that they have control; they do not care who they have to hurt to have their name woven into history.

In all actuality, the fact we let a system constructed by colonists hundreds of years ago dictate the state of humanity is absurd. We have been given political propaganda our whole life that rights must be given to us in the first place by powdered wigs and gavels. Americans have been told for decades that they live in the “land of the free” when their inane human prerogatives are treated like a toy you can take from a child. The idea that we had to be given these rights to begin with shows how brainwashed United States citizens have become. 

No matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter what Congress does, it is important to remember that we are humans before we are Americans. The fact that our internal matters and happenings are being debated like taxes and infrastructure displays just how contorted our government has always been and how it will continue to be in the future. Those behind desks with gold name plates should not be able to legislate our bodies, our relationships and who we are.