What's next for abortion rights in America?
Right-wing misogynists are coming for contraception, same-sex marriage, and all legal abortions -- even in blue states.
Here’s the top line of what you need to know about today’s Supreme Court arguments in a case challenging Roe v. Wade: A majority of the justices appear poised to overturn Roe, which would end the era of legal abortion in the US and send abortion laws back to the states. If Roe were overturned, abortion would become illegal either immediately or very quickly in 22 states. Nearly half of American women would see their closest abortion clinic shut down, and would be forced to travel an average of 279 miles — up from the current 35 miles — to reach a facility offering safe, legal abortions.
“Pro-life” America is already a pretty tough place for women and babies. The states with the strongest anti-abortion laws also boast the highest rates of infant mortality. A woman who lives in a “pro-life” state is much likelier to die during pregnancy, in childbirth, or soon after than a woman in a pro-choice state. Dismantling Roe would immediately exacerbate these existing ills: Women who seek out abortions and are refused them are more likely to die in childbirth than women who are able to obtain safe, legal abortions.
The first day of a post-Roe America seems likely to come in June 2022, when the Supreme Court issues its ruling in the case it heard today, challenging a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. Readers of SCOTUS tea leaves (and any sentient person listening to oral arguments today) is worried, given that a majority of the court seems ready to let Roe go. That, though, is just the beginning. Overturning Roe isn’t the culmination of a broader anti-abortion strategy. It’s the simply the end of the first stage, which is dismantling the existing constitutional order. Next up: Ending broad legal access to contraception; radically scaling back LGBT rights; establishing a new legal norm of fetal and embryonic personhood; outlawing abortion in all 50 states; turning women into criminals and our bodies into crime scenes; and expanding the anti-abortion and anti-contraception reach to women and girls around the world.