ItIn the nearly 49 years that have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court granted a constitutional right for abortion to women, life has changed.
Access to birth control has increased and many more women are now able to work, have higher education and protections against being fired for having a baby. Through it all, abortion has remained one of the nation’s most fraught topics. While support for legal abortion has mostly gone unchanged—about 60% of Americans believe it should be legal in most or all cases—so has opposition to the procedure. Since the early ’70s, activists and lawmakers who believe abortion is immoral have waged a long, careful battle in state legislatures and the courts in hopes that one day the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade
This day seemed imminent on May 2, according to a leaked draft opinion. Draft opinion leaked on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,A case that directly challenged an existing precedent showed the majority Justices ready to reverse it RoeIt all. It was like an explosion. The news was received with great enthusiasm by both the pro- and anti-government protestors. Pastors declared victory while politicians raced to claim positions and lawyers struggled to comprehend the implications of the draft text. They pointed out a number of constitutional rights that were suddenly at risk, such as access to birth control, the right to marry anyone you choose, and freedom from discrimination.
While the opinion leaked to Politico may well change before a final version is released, likely in June, its mere existence reshaped American politics in an instant—upending midterm races and political agendas, and refuting any argument that overturning RoeIt would only affect a very small percentage of conservative state residents. A fierce political backlash made it clear that any Supreme Court case that changed the precedent was not welcome. RoeWe all will be affected by this set.
Activists gather in front of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the abortion clinic in Jackson, Miss., at the center of the Supreme Court case
Rogelio V. Solis—AP
For many liberals, the draft marked the worst-case scenario, the doomsday outcome they’d been warning about for years. “It’s devastating, but it’s also a critical wake-up call,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told reporters. NARAL witnessed a 1,403% jump in donations within a day of publication. Planned Parenthood saw a 6550% increase in engagement and donations. ActBlue, a Democratic crowdfunding platform, was able to raise $12 million within 24 hours of the draft being made public. The Abortion Care Network raised $250,000 from over 12,000 donors in just three days. This network supports independent abortion clinics across the country. A flood of women seeking abortion appointments reported that they were receiving requests from providers to order birth control pills or stockpile emergency contraceptives. Washington, D.C. and 16 other states have no laws in place that protect abortion rights. RoeEndure to be the law.
Conservatives celebrated the draft decision. “If this is the opinion of the Court, it will be one of the greatest opinions in Supreme Court history. It will save millions of lives,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted on May 3. The draft was seen as validation of both conservatives’ strategy and their core belief: that RoeIt was incorrectly decided, and the only way for that to be rectified was to send conservatives to the top court. Social media saw religious leaders thank Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court nominations for bringing this opportunity to fruition. If the court’s final opinion is similar to the leaked draft, 13 states with “trigger laws” will ban abortion almost immediately; at least 10 more are likely to implement abortion bans or restrictions soon after.
Continue reading: Republican-led states ready legislation to ban or criminalize abortion after Supreme Court Leak
In the days after the draft’s publication, many national Republicans -focused on condemning the leak rather than addressing the substance of the draft, as political strategists debated the political risk of opposing a procedure that the majority of Americans support in some form. A leaked memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee advised candidates that “our position should be based in compassion and reason,” and emphasized, “Republicans DO NOT want to throw doctors and women in jail.” But at the same time, some GOP members of Congress also floated passing a national abortion ban.
In the States, Republican lawmakers rushed to pass abortion bans and criminal sanctions for abortions. They also considered defining life at conception. This move has major implications for miscarriages, contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), and the so-called “morning-after pill.” “No compromises, no more waiting,” said Brian Gunter, a pastor who helped write a Louisiana bill classifying abortion as homicide. In Georgia, state representative Ed Setzler, who sponsored a 2019 abortion ban, cheered his colleagues’ ambitions. “I think perhaps we’re coming to a place where we recognize that the deep brutality of Roe v. Wade” he told TIME, “may be coming to an end.”
Abortion Access Front supporters protesting in Manhattan May 3rd, the day after the Supreme Court’s early draft opinion was published.
Caitlin Ochs—The New York Times/Redux
The leak caused a lot of confusion for the average American who is not well-versed in the details of federal and state political battles. The abortion-rights activists rushed to assure the patients and push for information about next steps. If the Supreme Court decides to overturn, Roe,Many expect that abortion pills which can be ordered via telehealth or sent by the mail will soon become the new arena for legal and legislative battles. Some others see the possibility of the country being split, as Democrat-led countries will experience an influx in out-of state patients looking for abortions within their borders. Many Democratic state legislatures moved to provide protection for providers and help patients who are not from their states. Katie Quinonez, executive director of West Virginia’s only abortion clinic, says that if her state makes the procedure illegal, she and her staff will help more patients travel to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
Continue reading: Republican States Take Down Access to Abortion Pills, as the Supreme Court Decides
We are not likely to see any of the old back-alley abortions of pre-Internet age.RoeQuinonez states that accessing legal care is essential in this modern day and age. It is likely that many would-be abortion patients will not be able to arrange transportation or childcare and take the time away from work to have an abortion. People who refuse abortions are more likely to have poor mental health and more serious health problems, including pregnancy-related deaths, poverty, debt and financial instability. The majority of people seeking abortions have had at least one child. The United States has the highest rate of maternal death among wealthy nations. It is also one of few countries that does not provide strong, well-funded, parental support, such as paid leave or childcare.
While the country, awash in uncertainty, awaits the court’s final ruling, one thing is now clear. The U.S. is on the cusp of a monumental shift in which issues surrounding women’s autonomy, privacy, and the government’s role in its citizens’ health will become central to our lives and our politics. The Justices’ final decision will shape not only reproductive rights, but also the health care system, criminal justice, workforce participation, and what it means to create a family in America.
—Reporting byNik Popli/Washington
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