How State Constitutions and Courts Can Lead on Reproductive Rights and Gender Equality

One year ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court abandoned 50 years of precedent and held there is no federal constitutional right to abortion.

Fortunately, the Dobbs majority opinion is not the last word on how other jurists will interpret constitutional guarantees that protect reproductive autonomy. With active cases in 19 states challenging abortion bans since Dobbs, debates over the constitutional meaning of life, liberty, equality and reproductive rights are now taking shape in state courts. And, as new research shows, many state courts have already decided that state equal protection provisions, equal rights amendments, and other state constitutional guarantees are not constrained by federal precedent and require robust, independent legal standards to address sex discrimination.