What the Roe v. Wade Decision Will Mean for the LGBTQ+ Community
by Judy Bokao
While recent discourse around the Roe v. Wade leaked draft decision is understandably framed as a women’s rights issue, it is critical that we are inclusive in our rage and recognize all its implications. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, including non-binary people, transgender men, and queer women, get abortion services regularly from reproductive facilities. We deserve safe and direct access to comprehensive reproductive health care, and this potential ruling could completely disrespect this fundamental right. There are also increasingly concerning justifications in the legal arguments used to overturn Roe v. Wade that could be used again to strip away other rights, from access to contraception to same-sex marriage.
Although it’s still unclear if the draft is the final court’s decision, the news sent shockwaves through the nation. Legal experts and advocates warn that the decision will have serious consequences for millions. This could be the most pivotal decision from the Supreme Court in recent memory and it’s important we understand all the ways it will set us back.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITHOUT ROE?
Without Roe, many states could restrict or fully ban abortion. Unfortunately, this means millions of people will lose the right to legal and safe abortion. Eleven states already have six-week bans, and nine states have restrictions. While some people will be able to afford to fly or drive to states where it is still legal, many more people already trying to make ends meet will be unable to.
WHAT IS THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY NERVOUS ABOUT?
LGBTQ+ liberation and reproductive justice are connected. Members of the movement, including non-binary people, transgender men, and queer women, get abortion services from reproductive facilities. This means that overturning the legal precedent means nothing but frustration to the larger community.
According to the NCTE, trans and nonbinary communities are already reluctant to navigate reproductive and preventive health care services. Queer individuals avoid or delay preventative care due to fear of disrespect or discrimination. With facilities potentially needing to completely stop functioning, this will only instill more avoidance and fear.
The right and freedom to make health care decisions, including abortion, is crucial to the LGBTQ+ community. In many cases, carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term is extremely dysphoric for non-binary and transgender people. Forcing anyone to stay pregnant is violent.
WHAT OTHER SUPREME COURT CASES COULD BE IMPACTED?
LGBTQ+ legal experts also state that apart from critical abortion services being stripped away, overturning Roe v. Wade could impact other civil rights cases that use arguments rooted in the 14th Amendment’s right to privacy. Many have expressed concern around the right to access contraception. Obergefell vs. Hodges, which recognizes legal same-sex marriage in the U.S. using the 14th Amendment, could also be vulnerable. With a conservative Supreme Court, decades of activism and progress could be set back again.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
We can all mobilize at the local, state, and federal levels to cement abortion rights into actual legislation. We can also donate to abortion funds that provide important resources and support to those of us who understandably cannot afford to take off work, cross state lines, and pay for an expensive procedure. We need to make it clear to those in power that we will not stay silent as they strip our rights away.
About the Author:
Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.