In the Summer issue of Ms., we delve deep into the impact of the Court’s decision, the dark money behind the bans, and legal strategies that will determine where we go beyond Roe.
When states coerce and force women, girls and people with the capacity for pregnancy to remain pregnant against their will, they create human chattel and incubators of them. Today, Texas, Mississippi and other states with ‘trigger’ bans make clear that the essences of chattel bondage and the draft have returned, but only for women, girls and pregnant-capable people.
Overturning Roe v. Wade will unleash devastating rollbacks on abortion across the United States, while also impacting U.S. foreign policy. Already, the Helms Amendment, Siljander Amendment, global gag rule and other restrictions form a collective—and deadly—U.S. foreign policy package that has had disastrous impacts on global health, including an increase in maternal mortality, unsafe abortions and HIV infections, as well as a decline in the overall quality of healthcare.
While the forthcoming decision, and its catastrophic fallout, is not likely to have an immediate global impact, it will undercut efforts to remove these restrictions and embolden the anti-abortion lobby to further instrumentalize U.S. foreign policy to promote its ideology.
Hostile state or federal laws that ban or restrict abortion and criminalize pregnancy outcomes could have yet another devastating impact: threatening eligibility for legal immigration status and undermining efforts to create more equitable and humane immigration laws.
The politics of immigration and the politics of choice will continue to collide as extreme lawmakers cynically trade the reproductive health of immigrant and non-citizen women for political gain.
Since 1994, 60 countries have liberalized their abortion laws. In contrast, the United States is experiencing profound retrogression on the right to abortion. So too is this occurring in other countries where democratic institutions have eroded, such as Poland and Nicaragua.
Abortion rights should never depend on someone’s zip code. Each state must do its part to ensure legal and more equitable access to abortion care.
A more expansive vision for reproductive autonomy is necessary—and state courts can lead the way. Over the last three decades, high courts in 11 states have recognized that their constitutions protect abortion rights independently from and more strongly than the U.S. Constitution, or have struck down restrictive laws that the Supreme Court has upheld.
Despite the Supreme Court’s expected ruling on the fate of Roe v. Wade, a correct understanding of the Constitution guarantees the legal right to reproductive autonomy: reclaiming the full promise of the 14th Amendment.
Amber Gavin works at independent woman-owned abortion clinic, A Woman’s Choice. Israel Cook is a state legislative fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Both women share what makes them hopeful for the future of abortion care.
“Many people already live in a post-Roe reality. Yet this does not have to be our future. Advocates, providers, lawyers and everyday people across the country can build a future where we uplift and center the voices and ideas of Black people, people of color, disabled people, immigrants, young people and more.”
Late Monday night, a leaked version of the draft of the majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was made public. When the final decision is issued, there will no longer be a federally guaranteed right to abortion in America for the first time in nearly 50 years.
What are the democratic dysfunctions that have led to this pivotal point? How should we consider parallel affronts to participation and representation—the wave of voting restrictions and outsize role of big money in politics—and the anti-abortion agenda? Can we look to state courts to provide new avenues for protecting reproductive rights? And what is the legal and societal impact of criminalizing pregnancy and abortion, especially on communities of color?