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Turning Back the Hands of Time: The Dobbs Decision

June 29, 2022 12:00 PM

Photo of Alecia Hobdy,

Alecia Hobdy, School of Science & Engineering, ‘23

As a Tulane student, I was shocked to learn about the death of June Wall. She was a first-year student in the Newcomb College Class of 1963 who died due to a botched abortion she received from an 84-year-old woman with previous convictions of performing abortions illegally and in an unsafe manner. June Wall died as a result of the pre-Roe legal systems: a lack of safe abortion options.

Recently, a 2018 Mississippi state law, at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, that outlaws most abortion procedures after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy was challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Mississippi abortion restriction was upheld as the court completely overturned Roe v. Wade. Overturning this landmark precedent spells disaster for women in Mississippi and more than 20 additional states. Female residents of these states will be subject to severe abortion restrictions that could include outright bans of abortion procedures.  This results in a system where women are forced into making inconceivably difficult choices. This increases the likelihood that hundreds of thousands of pregnant people won’t be able to find appropriate abortion care. The Dobbs decision puts college women like me in the same place as June Wall—seeking good medical help in places where there might not be any.

Self-managed abortion can end a pregnancy safely and purely on the terms of the pregnant person. The phrase "self-managed abortion" is frequently used to refer to when a person decides to induce an abortion outside of a medical facility. People can exercise bodily autonomy and take charge of their health and well-being by giving them the resources and knowledge to manage their abortions. There are many different options including self-sourcing pills, and procedures supported at home by a doula or other certified home provider. Regardless of the method, timing, or location of the procedure, access to safe abortion care makes communities healthier and women deserve to seek it without judgment.

There are tons of resources on finding safe and supportive abortion care. This is an integral part of preventing cases like that of June Wall. On the surface, June Wall was me. A female college student at what is now Tulane University. The only difference is that I will hopefully have safe options. I have people to turn to. I have spaces that will provide me with educated advice. June Wall did not have such privileges and it ultimately led to her death. However, I may be subject to new forms of criminalization. That is why the Dobbs decision is so important. In 2022, we are supposed to be moving forward, yet it seems as if we are doing the exact opposite. The United States of America has reversed the decades of work for women’s reproductive rights, and the cost is the safety and lives of millions.