UNPLANNED PARENTHOOD: Inside the Art Installation Using Historical Testimony to Call for a Feminist Future

On Wednesday, feminist artist Michelle Hartney launched UNPLANNED PARENTHOOD—a collaborative, textile-based piece exploring historical attacks on reproductive health access and calling for intersectional reproductive justice.

“I want to tell the stories of the women who suffered because of laws that once prohibited so many from accessing information and care, and reckon with the fact that the attacks we’re seeing now on reproductive care hurt women at the intersections the most.”

Wide Majority of Americans Approve of Roe v. Wade and Disapprove of New Texas Abortion Law

Sixty percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court should uphold its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion. Just 27 percent believe it should be overturned.

In the run-up to oral arguments on Dec. 1 in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, a Gallup poll shows Supreme Court approval at 40 percent—the lowest number recorded since the poll first started tracking this question in August of 2000.

Texas’s Six-Week Abortion Ban In Effect for Almost Three Months—With No End in Sight

The Supreme Court has yet again declined to block Texas’s S.B. 8, the most restrictive abortion ban in history—meaning it will likely be in effect when the Court considers the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on Dec. 1, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

“Though this is in one sense about abortion, it is really about much more,” the dean of Berkeley Law School Erwin Chemerinksy told Ms. “It’s about: Can the state adopt a law that blatantly violates the Constitution and then immunize itself from federal court review? … Ultimately, it’s about whether states have to follow the Constitution. It’s about the very structure of American government.” 

The Justices Have No Robes

Not only did the Supreme Court effectively render Roe v. Wade a dead letter in Texas, upsetting nearly 50 years of settled law; it also destabilized over 200 years of judicial responsibility. The Supreme Court abdicated its singular duty to protect our constitutional rights—regardless of how controversial they are.

The Government Has a Long History of Controlling Women—One That Never Ended

Abortion is not (just) a health issue. Whether we are willing to let women and people capable of becoming pregnant control their own bodies, for health or any other reason, is an equity issue—a question of who deserves bodily autonomy and freedom to reach their full potential.

Ultimately, abortion bans and restrictions are part of broader legal and societal structures that were unambiguously designed to not recognize women’s inherent equality.

The Power of State Courts in Securing Abortion Access: “It’s Time to Give Them Center Stage”

Progressives are giving new attention to reforming the Supreme Court—but it would be a mistake to stop there. We also need to pay greater attention to state courts and state constitutions as a promising, underappreciated and frequently threatened venue for protecting rights. 

Of course, courts can’t be the only path to achieving reproductive justice—but we won’t have reproductive justice without them.