2022 or the 1950’s: The future of human rights looks suspiciously like the past – Jaz W

As a seventeen-year-old I have been alive for Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, an ongoing climate crisis, refugee crisis’s (yes, plural), wearing a hijab being banned for under 18’s in France, the threat of war and the actuality of war, famines in Yemen, bombings in Syria, the BLM movement, the MeToo movement. 

The list could go on.

Last term, on June 24th the supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing the constitutional right to abortion, a ruling that will change the lives of millions. Roe v. Wade made clear that unnecessary restrictions on abortion within a state (specifically Texas during this lawsuit) were unconstitutional, violating the right to privacy recognised in the 14thamendment. Now that this is no longer the case, it means that individual states can decide their own opinion on abortion, many already holding ‘trigger laws’ which are state laws that came into place instantly when Roe v. Wade was overturned. In many places in America this has led to uncertainty, with the right to govern one’s own body being stripped away people can be criminalised for seeking life-saving healthcare. 

Even so this is only the clinical side of the story, one I’m hopeful many of you already even just partially knew. The truth of the matter is that this is not a woman’s issue, this is not an American issue, this is not a heterosexual issue but rather one we all need to be educated about to stand together on.

 (protest sign reading ”reproductive rights are HUMAN rights” in the midst of a prochoice protest)

The current overturning of Roe v. Wade will disproportionally effect working class, transgender, people of colour. The suggested future suggestion to “reconsider all of this court’s substantive due to process precedents including Griswold [states have no right to ban contraceptives], Lawrence [which ruled on the legalisation of private same-sex sex] and Obergefell [which legalised same-sex marriage]” by Justice Clarence Thomas is a major set-back for human rights within the USA.

Outside of America, Northern Irish people still struggle to access abortion almost 3 years after it was legalised. Amnesty International’s campaign manager for NI said “We have a postcode lottery for access to abortion provision and the services that are in place remain in a fragile state.” 

In Poland around 100 towns and regions (nearly one third of the country) have declared themselves free of “LGBT ideology.” This means that more than 10 million citizens live under a ruling that prevents homosexual people from living, they are forced to leave behind their home or leave behind their identity and chance for love.


(Road sign outside of Istebna in southern Poland)

Closer to home, right here in the UK, on June 22nd the government introduced the Bill of Human rights, undermining the Human Rights Act 1998. This Bill has been heavily condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty international, open Democracy and Human Rights Watch. This bill will explicitly affect the rights of immigrants, the working class, chronically ill or disabled people,  and anyone wishing to challenge the government with new laws on freedom of speech and power of the government.

So in conclusion, its all depressing, the world is doomed, no point in trying right? Wrong.

Almost 200,000 people have signed an official petition protesting the Bill of Human Rights.

Companies such as Meta, Starbucks and Amazon have expanded health care benefits meaning they will pay for employees to travel to a safe state for an abortion if necessary.

Lizzo and the Live Nation entertainment company have pledged $1 million to planned parenthood.

The region of Swietokryskie revoked the anti-LGBT legislation after threats of losing funding from the EU.

While the future of human rights looks scary right now at the end of the day this is our world. We hold power even if it is only small by educating ourselves, engaging in healthy debate, encouraging donation for those who can and simply treating people with kindness we are making this world a better place right now and for the future.

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