This upcoming election, as some may know, is one of the most important elections of our time. It is emphasized by our peers encouraging us to vote, the multitude of infographics seen throughout Instagram stories, and advertisements telling us to vote on other forms of social media. With this election, there are many issues at stake such as the handling of racial injustice, healthcare during a pandemic, climate justice, women’s reproductive health, and more. But recently, women’s reproductive health has faced many severe threats by the Trump administration and the Republican Party in power.

What exactly is at stake when it comes to women’s reproductive health? This is a multifaceted issue, but one major aspect of it is the push to ban safe access to abortion and reverse Roe v. Wade. The reversal of Roe v. Wade is not a new topic, as there have been groups trying to reverse it since the court decision in 1973. Past elections have threatened to reverse Roe v. Wade, but this election puts it especially in jeopardy. But why is it now so crucial?

 With the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there is an open seat in the Supreme Court which the Trump administration wishes to fill before the election. What is the issue with this? Trump recently announced who would fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, a woman named Amy Coney Barret. Barret will A) give the Supreme Court a conservative majority (6 to 3 specifically) and B) has pro-life stances and if there is a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade would most likely vote in favor of it. 

Although some Republicans claim they want to reverse Roe v. Wade and give the states the power to decide the legality of abortion, there are numerous states that are in favor of putting stricter restrictions on abortion or banning it completely. This is especially dangerous since there are many reasons women have abortions, especially in cases of rape, incest, a dangerous pregnancy, or the possibility of serious and harmful birth defects. This ban will lead to an increase in unsafe abortions which may cause serious harm. 

With a ban on safe abortions also comes the threat of slowly defunding Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is known as a safe and affordable option for abortions, but it also offers many other services such as STI testing, pap smears, birth control, testing for cervical cancer, and more. The defunding of Planned Parenthood would also mean taking away these affordable services for women who truly need them, including women from low-income backgrounds as well as those whose healthcare provider does not cover these types of services. Many Republican politicians (most of whom are males) are in favor of cutting funds to Planned Parenthood and many of them are up for election. Voting in this election if you are able to can make a large difference and save the lives and overall health of women who depend on the essential services Planned Parenthood has to offer. 

Graphic by: Carolyn Ellis