Noah Rue our newest international guest writer discusses how the overturning of Roe v. Wade can affect the queer community in the U.S as well as its global implications and how the U.K. queer community can show up and help fight against the warped logic of the far right to protect the right to legal and safe abortions everywhere.
After the recent Supreme Court ruling in the U.S. to overturn Roe v. Wade, people everywhere are in an uproar over the far right once again stripping away basic human rights. This time, they’ve come for the right to legal and safe abortions.
And despite this seemingly being just a women’s issue, it can have serious implications for the entirety of the queer community as well, because abortion is not just a women’s issue. Trans and nonbinary individuals as well can and do get pregnant.
Furthermore, when it comes to stripping away rights, this recent SCOTUS decision could set a precedent for other rulings that could negatively impact the queer community. When you attack and strip away a person’s right to choose what they can do with their own body, you are paving the way for even more rights coming under threat in regards to how a person chooses to live their life — which is particularly a concern for the LGBTQ+ community.
How the Roe v. Wade Decision Impacts the U.S Queer Community
First, let’s briefly overview what Roe v. Wade is. In 1973, the Supreme Court made a historic ruling that enacted federal constitutional protection of abortion rights. This kept states from banning abortion and made it possible for women — or anyone that could carry a child — the ability to more easily find and access safe and legal abortions within the first three months of pregnancy.
There were restrictions or exceptions even then in place depending on the circumstances of the pregnancy, such as for abortions in the second and third trimester, but overall it gave women fair rights over what they could do with their own bodies.
Now, instead of progressing as a society, we have taken a giant leap backward as the SCOTUS recently ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, once again stripping women of their rights and making it legal for states to ban abortions.
Unfortunately, this backward ruling is likely to make it even easier for further rights to be stripped away from women and the entirety of the queer community and is already having serious implications beyond stripping away abortion rights.
Medical Rights to Privacy
Traditionally, patients in the U.S. have had their medical information protected under organizations such as the American Medical Association and HIPPA, in addition to state laws regarding patient rights. But we are already seeing some of those rights being stripped away along with the recent abortion ruling.
Individuals with period tracking apps, for example, could become the target of states that are choosing to completely strip away the right to abortion. But period tracking apps are not just about conception — millions of individuals use these apps for other health reasons.
Unfortunately, the data stored in these apps could be used to suggest that someone has had or is considering getting an abortion, which could make them vulnerable to the law if they reside in a state that has decided to completely take away abortion rights. And this data could particularly put those in marginalized communities, such as the queer community, at risk for harm.
Furthermore, this could also set a precedent for other patient privacy rights to be stripped, which could result in an overall fear and hesitance from those in the LGBTQ+ community to disclose personal information to their doctors, such as sexual identity and gender orientation.
A Precedent for Overturning Other Supreme Court Cases
There is also the fear that with this ruling, other rights will come under attack, and we could start seeing a slew of controversial conservative legislation taking place. Clarence Thomas, for example, one of the justices who voted to overrule Roe v. Wade, suggested the court look at other cases, such as Obergfell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
Lack of access to abortions and abortion services could also result in a lack of access to other family planning services, such as those provided by Planned Parenthood. But there are many in the queer community who use these services once again for reasons other than conceiving a child or getting an abortion.
For example, some queer individuals use birth control and IUD implants for hormonal purposes, such as preventing a period. And some even seek full sterilization. Unfortunately, access to these things could become impacted by the recent SCOTUS ruling. Even those in the queer community who just want information on their options in regards to IUDs and other family planning services could struggle to find what they need.
IVF, which is also something a lot of queer individuals or couples use to have a child, could also become more limited in certain areas. This is because technically, the IVF process can result in some embryos being destroyed, which could be viewed as a form of abortion and thus could be banned in states that are banning abortion.
Abortion Movements Are Being Impacted Globally
All across the world, talks of abortion rights have been stirred by the recent SCOTUS ruling in the U.S. And Europe, in particular, is seeing the effects. For years, the EU has been heralded as being quite liberal regarding abortion rights. But after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the US, hard-right Christian groups across Europe are celebrating and pushing for their own country’s rollback of reproductive rights.
As such, there is a growing fear from women and the queer communities in these countries that their own governments will follow suit and start stripping away their rights. Despite European Parliament declaring access to safe abortion a human right recently, how abortion rights are handled can vary greatly from one E.U. country to the next, and there is no knowing how things might quickly change just as it did in the U.S.
The Prime Minister of the U.K, however, is showing his support and ensuring his people there is nothing to fear, stating that similar legislation as was just seen in the U.S. is not likely to occur in the U.K. Women in the U.K. still have access to free and safe abortions. And in England, Scotland, and Wales specifically, abortion is also allowed if the pregnant person’s life is at risk, if it will cause permanent damage to their physical and mental health, or if it poses a risk of injury to existing children.
Still, despite support from the Prime Minister, others are not so sure that the U.K. and other E.U. countries will not be impacted by the SCOTUS ruling. And many fear that if things do change, it will particularly put the queer community and other marginalized communities at risk.
Wrapping Up: How the U.K. Queer Community Can Support Those Affected in the U.S.
Pro-choice advocates and abortion support experts are saying that the best thing the people of Europe and the U.K. can do right now is to speak out and stand up for abortion rights. It’s hard to see another country suffering the effects of backward right-wing notions and power plays, especially when there isn’t anything you can directly do to help other than donate to abortion support groups and organizations.
Still, even if you can’t vote for other countries to help change their policies, being loud, and unashamedly pro-choice can help. The more people speak up and spread awareness and the more pressure they put on their own people and governments, the more it can influence change across the globe.
Noah is from Boise, Idaho, USA