Why Roe Was Never Enough—and What Comes Next

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?

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Kentucky’s Complete Abortion Ban

On April 13, the Kentucky legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to pass a law banning abortion after 15 weeks and placing restrictions on earlier abortions that are currently impossible to meet. As a result, the two remaining abortion clinics in the state—Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville—ceased offering abortion services on Thursday.

Planned Parenthood and EMW are currently working with clinics beyond Kentucky to direct patients out of state for care. In addition, the organization Plan C offers detailed information on their website about how people in Kentucky are finding abortion pills outside of the formal medical system. 

A Firsthand View of the Crisis Ahead for Abortion Rights—and What We Should Do About It

As a nation, we are at a fork in the road and we will have to decide if we will allow our reproductive freedom to be determined by others, or if we are going to demand that these freedoms be protected where they still exist and restored where they have been compromised.

Since it seems we can no longer rely on the courts to protect these rights, our only solution is to pass a new federal law that will protect abortion rights in all 50 states. The Senate’s recent failure to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act makes it clear that we will need a greater pro-choice majority than we have today to pass this new legislation.

Oklahoma Just Passed a Near-Total Abortion Ban. More Restrictions Are Likely Coming.

As statehouses across the country rush to pass new abortion restrictions ahead of a consequential Supreme Court ruling this summer, Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to restrict abortion access by any and all means necessary. 

“Oklahoma is passing every type of abortion ban to give themselves the largest chance possible for one of them to go into effect. They may be essentially hedging their bets,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state policy for the Guttmacher Institute. 

Anti-Trans Extremists ‘Come For’ Doctors

Coordinated harassment campaigns. Crowds of angry picketers. Tracking doctors to their homes. If the current anti-trans tactics sound familiar, that’s because they’re borrowed from anti-abortion campaigns.

“An individual provider who has a wolf at the door? It has led some people to say ‘I’m just not doing this work anymore,’” said transgender rights advocate Erin Reed. “We are losing providers, good providers.”

Idaho Is the Second State to Ban Abortion After Six Weeks

Idaho has become the second state to ban abortion after six weeks.

“By the time you get to six weeks into pregnancy, chances are it is very difficult to have gotten an abortion,” said Lisa Humes-Schulz, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Northwest. “It’s not when you find out you become pregnant, but how long it takes you to get an abortion when you find out in idaho. There’s so few providers, a waiting period, you have to travel and raise money. That’s a big task.” 

Independent Abortion Providers Are on the Front Lines in the Assault on Reproductive Rights

Over the last decade alone, abortion clinics have been closing at an alarming rate. Six states have only one brick-and-mortar abortion clinic left. Four of these are small, independent clinics helping patients access critical abortion care. 

Nineteen years ago on March 10, 1993, Dr. David Gunn, a physician who dedicated his life to providing abortion services in rural communities, was murdered by a white supremacist anti-abortion extremist. On the anniversary of his death, we celebrate Abortion Provider Appreciation Day as a way to honor his life and recognize all the courageous, compassionate people who, despite the growing obstacles, provide abortion care every day.  

The Texas Abortion Ban: The Unwanted Consequences of a Forced Unwanted Pregnancy

Texas Senate Bill 8’s ultimate goal is to decrease abortion rates. But restricting access to abortion does not decrease its incidence—it only serves to hurt women and children in the process.

Legislation needs to focus on preventing unintended pregnancy before it happens and taking care of living children—not on restricting access to safe and proper reproductive healthcare.