Abortion Rights in America
In early May, a draft of the Supreme Court opinion on the future of abortion rights was obtained by Politico indicating that Roe V. Wade is likely to be overturned by the court. However, court opinions are fluid. The official decision will come down this summer when the court rules on a Mississippi law that bans abortions at 15 weeks.
It’s a case that forces the court to reevaluate if abortion should be federally protected, or if states have the right to limit in abortion.
Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California says, “The Mississippi law has challenged the fundamental tenets of Roe v. Wade and even Planned Parenthood V. Casey.”
Elizabeth Nash says “Every indication is telling us that the Supreme Court is going to hand down a decision that may completely overturn abortion rights.”
If the court upholds Mississippi’s law that opens the door for dozens of speech to Paulo shoo in restricting abortion access many already have soon accessing safe reproductive care in the United States could become very complicated for at least 36 million women.
What is the future of abortion rights in America?
So how could this decision ripple out and be felt across the country and what is the future of abortion rights in America?
Elizabeth Nash says, “In 1973 the Supreme Court handed down Roe v Wade which affirmed the right to abortion a key piece of the Supreme Court standard is that no state can ban abortion before viability.”
Michele Goodwin says, “it’s worth noting that as an underlying matter in Roe v. Wade, was this sense of taking women seriously women’s lives are interrupted their education, careers and the harms physical, psychological, economic and otherwise when a person is not able to determine her own reproductive destiny.”
2021 proved to be one of the most restrictive years for abortion in recent times, with over 100 restrictions passed. But experts say this Mississippi case, Dobbs V. Jackson, Women’s Health is the first significant challenge to Roe in the last 30 years. The law would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks. That’s about eight weeks earlier than the constitutional standard, pushing the conservative-leaning Supreme Court to take on the case.
According to Elizabeth Nash, “During the Trump administration, three new justices were appointed all very conservative, and they shifted the balance of the court. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh joined the court and that kickstarted a number of states to try to pass abortion bans in the hopes of getting one of them up to the Supreme Court to overturn abortion rights. And then when we had Amy Coney Barrett joined the court, everything went into overdrive.”
Justice Barrett identifies as an originalist, a judicial philosophy she shares with at least three other conservative justices on the court.
Justice Barrett says, “I interpret the Constitution as a law, and I understand it to have a meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change.”
Most observers agree that Justice Thomas who has openly said that Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood V. Casey should be overturned, is likely to be joined by justices Gorsuch and Alito. Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor are strongly in favor of Roe and Casey and would not want to cut into those precedents at all. Most of the questions have been about justice Barrett, Justice Kavanaugh and the Chief Justice.”
But based on the draft opinion, Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh seemed likely to support overturning Roe v. Wade. So what could happen this summer, the opinion of the court could still shift, but it seems the most likely outcome in this case is that the court decides to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and overturn Roe v PC and folk.
“In that case, the issue is entirely up to the states. They’re allowed to ban abortion or allow abortion at any given stage.”
Elizabeth Nash says, “That does not mean that there will be a nationwide ban in effect immediately. What it means is that the state will have the option to support abortion right to ban abortion or take on any kind of restriction that’s in between those two.”
And conservative state legislators have been preparing for this. In fact, 12 states have trigger laws on the books laws that aren’t enforceable yet, but would completely ban abortions if the Supreme Court overturns roe and even states without these trigger laws are very likely to pass new bands, like in Oklahoma, where the governor recently enacted a near-total abortion ban with no exception for rape or incest.
“We have anticipated that 26 states, so just over half the states will ban abortion or very likely to try to enforce it. These are states that have been for years trying to limit abortion access to the legal extent possible.”
Michele Goodwin says, “What means that additional clinics may in fact be forced to close. That’s a possibility. We’ve seen that already in states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, where there’s only one abortion clinic remaining.
Abortion already is very hard to come by when you’re thinking about people living in the South or the middle of the country. When you’re thinking about people in the West Coast or the Northeast. Abortion is already more accessible.
Some of those more liberal state leaders have done their own preparation for the upcoming Supreme Court. Decision.
Michele Goodwin says, “There are states that have enacted legislation or in fact moved reproductive privacy into their state constitutions statewide California for example, which is now calling itself a sanctuary, Colorado, New York there are states that are identifying themselves as protectors of reproductive liberty and autonomy.
Governor of Washington
Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee says, “This bill also protects patients from other states who would seek abortion services in Washington.
Once you have different states taking different approaches. There may be a new set of challenges involving how much a state can regulate what you do outside of it, whether they can, for example, forbid the importation of abortion drugs into the state, whether they can penalize traveling outside of the state to get an abortion and come back in. Most of those legal questions are unresolved and we might see court battles involving them.
People traveling from their home states will also have an effect on remaining clinics nationwide.
Elizabeth Nash says, “We think about Louisiana, a patient in Louisiana’s probably next closest clinic will be Illinois. That was 1300 mile round trip.”
Since the Supreme Court allowed Texas’s six-week abortion ban to go into effect. nearby states have seen an influx of out-of-state patients.
In fact, weights of up to three weeks are common in states surrounding Texas.
Elizabeth Nash says, “What we’re seeing is that the influx of patients from Texas to other states has a ripple effect. Right. It is disrupting the balance of care that had been put in place.”
Michele Goodwin says “There are going to be people who are left behind. There are going to be children who are left behind who’ve suffered from rape and insect, who otherwise would want to be able to terminate a pregnancy. There are going to be people who it may be difficult because it will be expensive to travel out of state either by bus, by train or by plane.”
And even as the landscape has become more and more restrictive, the majority of Americans believe abortion access is important. According to a Pew survey, 59% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 39% say it should be illegal.
Michele Goodwin says, “What we have seen is a political will that is inconsistent with the public’s will.”
Obviously there will be some serious opposition to the decision if it overturns roe and Casey but there would also likely be very serious opposition from a different segment of the country if it did otherwise.
Because the conservative legal movement which has something like 40 years of efforts behind it has seen the overturning of Roe and Casey as a primary goal.
Abortion rates have gone way down to two Roe was passed, but nearly one in four women will have an abortion before the age of 45.
Elizabeth Nash says, “We’re looking at abortion patients patients are primarily black and brown people, patients all also LGBTQ and young. We know that 75% of them are low income.”
This is partly because economic inequality has grown in the US, but also because contraception is still harder to access in poor communities, leading to poor women experiencing more unintended pregnancy.
Elizabeth Nash says, “An abortion costs about $550. That’s a lot of money to pull together very quickly. People have to take time off of work. Probably unpaid. 60% of abortion patients have children’s they have to arrange for childcare. All of the logistics around abortion just make it much much harder for some groups to access abortion care than wealthier, whiter people.”
This all boils down to an inevitable truth. Many women who would otherwise have gotten abortions will now be forced to carry pregnancies to term. The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among similarly developed countries.
Michele Goodwin says, “A person is 14 times more likely to die by carrying a pregnancy to term than by terminating it and we know that the rates work glaring if you happen to be a black woman. That’s the reality behind reproductive healthcare in the United States.”
The supreme court’s final decision in the Dobbs case will come down this summer. It’s very hard to predict exactly what the political impact would be, especially on an issue where all eyes will be on the court and where the political polarization will be very intense. This is a very big decision but it’s not the end of the story.
So people will continue to fight for human rights for bodily autonomy. They will not give up. It’s just a very hard.
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News Source: abclive.com