The Political Religions That Brought Down Roe

The Catholic Church has been the principal religious opponent to advances in birth control and abortion rights and access. But to achieve its goals, it needed allies in its long-term campaign of resistance. It took some time, but they found them. 

How conservative Christianity has been systematically waging a half-century war on Roe v. Wade will be the stuff of books and graduate theses. Here are some of the major themes that that they will contain.  

‘This Is An Emergency’: America Left Reeling in Wake of Likely Roe v. Wade Reversal

Late Monday night, shock waves could be felt across the U.S. after a leaked draft opinion signaled the Supreme Court’s majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case concerning a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi. The leaked opinion, if and when it takes effect at the end of the Supreme Court’s term (likely in June), represents the biggest blow to women’s constitutional rights in the last 50 years. 

Reactions from feminists, lawmakers, reproductive rights advocates and legal scholars have been pouring in as America begins to grapple with the gravity of what abortion access will look like in a post-Roe world.

Tracing the History of a Job That Shouldn’t Exist: The Role of Clinic Escorts in America’s Fight for Abortion Rights

Their actions started relatively quietly. But then came the megaphones, the screaming, the death threats and the outright violence.

Bodies on the Line by Lauren Rankin examines the role of clinic escorts in America’s fight for abortion rights, and chronicles the history of anti-abortion extremism.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Endanger Women’s Lives and Health: “Pregnancy Is Not a Benign Condition”

During oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson, Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested now that all 50 states have “safe haven” laws that allow mothers to relinquish parental rights after birth, the burdens of parenthood discussed in Roe and Casey are irrelevant, and the decisions are obsolete. Putting aside the callous assumption that giving up a baby is not burdensome, the argument ignores the physical and psychological effects of pregnancy, labor and childbirth.

“Legal abortion has reduced deaths of women from unsafe abortion to almost zero and has had important positive effects on other aspects of maternal and child health,” said Dr. Warren M. Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic. “It has been one of the greatest public health successes in the history of medicine.”

Generation Roe: Have We Always Known Roe Was an Aberrance Only Two Generations Would Experience?

I was born in 1974, nearly 18 months to the day after Roe. The women of my generation, along with the following generation, have been shaped by access to legal abortion and the subsequent guarantee of full personhood. The birth control pill, first approved by the FDA in 1960, promised reproductive autonomy, but abortion rights helped make it true.

As we approach the overturning of Roe, the women of Generation Roe must continue to speak out and join forces with other generations of activists to ensure we will not be the only ones to have experienced full personhood, unencumbered by laws seeking to define all women as mothers whose interests are subsumed by their children, born and unborn.

Apparently We Don’t Need Abortion Because of Adoption … “or Whatever”

In Dobbs v. Jackson, Amy Coney Barrett said the right to an abortion is unnecessary because of safe haven laws. This argument ignores the fact that pregnancy itself has profound impacts on a woman’s life and comes with many risks, especially in a state like Mississippi with an exceptionally high maternal mortality rate.

To suggest that adoption is a simple or equivalent alternative to abortion is shocking. To have that suggestion come from a mother of seven children, who has both been pregnant and been through the process of adoption, is dangerous.

For many children, even if eventually adopted, some time will be spent in foster care. And foster care is not always a safe haven.

The Supreme Court’s Vision of Equality Likely Means the End of Abortion Rights—But It Could Mean Much More

During last week’s oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson, many Supreme Court justices said nothing about equality at all—but Justice Amy Coney Barrett stood out. She suggested that people relied on abortion “as a backup form of birth control in case contraception fails” because they wanted to avoid the burdens of both pregnancy and parenting.

If the Court is ready to put an end to Roe, the conservative majority might also try to redefine what the Constitution means when it comes to equality of the sexes.