Ladies and gents, we are experiencing tumultuous times. Petrol prices are higher than someone tripping balls on LSD, rave fatigue is now a thing, and Elon Musk replies to Twitter’s chief executive with a poo emoji. What does the US Supreme Court do in this murky socio-economic climate? Drop the ultimate bomb – their plan to overturn the Roe v. Wade landmark.
As we were sipping the first coffee of the day while absently scrolling our social feeds on the first Monday of May, news broke that Roe v. Wade might no longer be the law of the land. For those of you who have no clue what this rodeo is about, Roe v. Wade has been enshrining women’s abortion rights for almost half of a century.
Without this bedrock of American law, the power of regulating, banning, and restricting women’s abortion rights will fall into the state lawmakers’ hands. This translates into a baroque abortion-monitoring system where more than half of US states are likely to restrict access to abortion severely, while 13 states could ban abortion on the spot.
By establishing rules for the bodies they don’t own, states can outlaw abortion that passed a certain gestation benchmark, just like Texas has already done through the heartbeat bill. They could ban abortions for women who don’t have their partner’s consent.
They could ban abortions for survivors of rape and incest.
As the court seems ready to pull the trigger on women’s sole protector, we are hitting a new low in the fight to preserve abortion access.
At this point, we don’t even know what’s worse – how easily American women are stripped of their rights or how their ability to embrace or reject parenthood will become dependent on where they live.
In some ways, this quaky switch is anything but surprising.
American conservatives have been itching to turn back the clock on abortion legislation for years – at least, this is what laws such as Texas’ heartbeat bill made clear-cut.
The Roe v. Wade case sparked decades of moral conflicts, making pro-life movement devotees’ and religious zealots’ blood boil. Obvi, nothing is more infuriating than a woman who has the right to do whatever she wants with her body.
But behind the veil of abortion is the inescapable reality that sexual intercourse is deeply consequential. Let’s imagine the following scenario – suppose the US switches from a national consensus to full-on totalitarian patriarchy regarding abortion rights.
In that case, the Roe v. Wade overturn could lay the foundation for an abstinence era, where pregnancy rates drop, death rates rise, and women’s worst nightmare translates into impromptu hookups.
When gut-wrenching news break, nothing creates a faster response than social media. Besides the “KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY” trend, TikTok also displays a glut of women who believe Roe’s end will be synonymous with the dawn of an abstinence era.
TikToker @rae1iz drew more than 1.4 million views with her “What woman would have mediocre sex with a drunk rando if he could potentially father their child?” not-so-rhetorical question.
And she is not the only one thinking the hookup concept might be completely wiped out of mainstream culture. User @nickicox points out that casual sex will have not so casual consequences if the sun sets over Roe’s era.
We might think that anti-abortion laws are pointing the finger at women and shrugging at male sexual libertinism – but it’s not quite like that.
“Since about 75% of men only care about sex and money, I hope they know this roe v wade decision could destroy hookup culture and leave them paying 18 yrs of child support,” the TikToker captioned her video. Most of the video’s comments announce a sexual revolution, with women stating that overturning the case would motivate them to change their sexual behavior.
The scenario where women choose to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse because plan B’s claw will catch them represents a big chunk of mainstream culture. But if the Court chooses to make this last resort sepia history, women will no longer want to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
In a world where no birth control method is foolproof and abortion isn’t an option, females will be masters of turning down casual hookup proposals.
One of those females is Nina. As a young adult who can’t picture herself as a mom, Nina believes that control of women’s reproductive lives will sow the seeds of chastity belts.
“Anyone who attended high-school anatomy classes knows that six weeks is far from being enough when it comes to abortion,” she says.
“Some women don’t experience any pregnancy symptoms in the first two months – what are we supposed to do, take a pregnancy test every day?”
Picturing the worst-case scenario is in our human drive. In the case of Roe v. Wade, this means giving birth to a child whose father is the random guy you met at the club one time.
“That’s one of the worst things that can happen to a woman,” says Nina. “Your life is not the only one that’s all over the place. Your child will grow up without a dad, without knowing what a father figure is. Nobody wants to raise their kid like that.”
Overturning Roe v. Wade would be a cruel blind alley in hookup culture. Although the final ruling has not been passed, the future of one-night stands and casual sex gatherings rides on the Court’s decision to give or not to give women the right to body autonomy.
For the time being, it seems like The Supreme Court is willing to ignore the multitude of societal and economic pressures that make unwanted pregnancy profoundly frightening.
In the aftermath of Roe’s fall, we might encounter a female-led sexual counterrevolution, where women’s willingness to take risks with casual partners will irreversibly drop.
“Hookup culture might be on the brink of death,” says Nina. “Banning abortion is less about sex and more about not wanting to put myself at risk for something that could end the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring.”