Americans have always been divided on the issue of abortion rights. Should women have access to it? If so, at any time or until a certain point? This eternal ethical debate is far from over, as a recently leaked document suggests that the highest court in the United States, composed mostly of conservatives, may soon overturn what has protected abortion rights in this country for 50 years.
A draft decision suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court may be about to strike down Roe v. Wadethe landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. If such a decision were to be made, it would be up to each state to prohibit or permit abortion, ending nearly 50 years of federal protection of this right.Le Devoir, May 4, 2022
In 2018, Mississippi passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is in direct violation of Roe v. Wade. Then, in 2019, Alabama, a Republican state in the southern United States, passed the most repressive law in the country regarding voluntary termination of pregnancy. Indeed, abortion is simply forbidden there, even in cases of rape or incest. The only exception that allows a doctor to perform the procedure is if the mother's life is in danger. Failure to comply with the new regulations can result in a prison sentence of 10 to 99 years.
It was as a result of these various cases that the Supreme Court had to formally address the issue.
The pro-life law, which puts the right of the fetus before the right of the woman, thus defines a fetus as "a human being, specifically including the unborn child, in the womb at any stage of development, regardless of viability." If the ruling is overturned, which is expected to be announced by the end of June 2022, "more than two dozen states are poised to ban abortion in their jurisdictions. Thirteen of them have already passed laws so that the procedure can no longer be performed the moment the Supreme Court issues its decision, such as Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee." (Radio-Canada) A dozen others should also quickly follow suit.
"the mortality rate of mothers during childbirth is, in the United States, among the highest of the rich countries. It is the sixth leading cause of death among women ages 20 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."Source: Agence Science-Presse, May 22, 2019
The following activities will get students thinking about the issues of justice and freedom raised by reversing this decision.
- Create a timeline that highlights the major dates in the fight for abortion in Quebec and Canada.
- Write a post on a reflection related to the repeal of abortion rights protection in the United States.
- Create a word cloud that summarizes positions on Alabama's anti-abortion law in 2019.
Disciplinary competencies targeted
- 20th Century History / A Divided World - Thought Movement: Human Rights Claims
- Ethics and Religious Culture
- Freedom (Cycle 1)
- Justice (Cycle 2)
Targeted dimensions of digital competence
- Acting as an ethical citizen in the digital age
- Communicate digitally
- Producing content with digital
- Developing and mobilizing information literacy
To get activity suggestions for teachers, you must subscribe to the Teacher or School version guides! Click here to find out more!Log in