So, What the #@%* is Happening?
In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most significant abortion rights case since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling nearly 50 years ago. At the heart of this case is a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15-weeks gestation. Mississippi has asked the Court to not only keep this ban in place, but to go a step further by overturning Roe v. Wade entirely, and ruling that there is no constitutionally protected right to abortion, regardless of gestational age or if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest. While the case focuses on Mississippi, it has implications for every woman and person who menstruates across the country.
What Does This Mean?
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion completely, while many others are poised to continue to chip away at access. You can learn about what might happen in your state thanks to this interactive map from the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization representing Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Regardless of where you live, this ruling will very likely create a seismic shift in reproductive rights across the country. Regressive state laws that are already on the books will tee up more litigation, and states will continue to pass more and more restrictive and harmful laws. Laws will constantly be in flux, causing confusion for patients and burdensome challenges for clinics and abortion providers, potentially putting them out of business altogether. This chilling ripple effect in and of itself is a major goal of the anti-abortion movement.
What if the Court Doesn’t Overturn Roe?
Even if the Court defies expectations, all signs point to a continued trend of conservative states introducing and passing increasingly restrictive laws. The reality is that the constitutional right to abortion is effectively inaccessible in many parts of the country due to years of purposeful efforts to make it incredibly difficult to get one. State legislators are already taking it upon themselves to strip us of our rights, introducing and passing laws that erode both public health and personal freedom. From Texas’ state law which encourages neighbors to report those seeking an abortion to Oklahoma’s new ban which makes abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, these laws provide a clear picture of how bans compound existing hurdles to accessing care and create barriers that disproportionately harm communities of color, underserved communities with low incomes, and rural populations. More than 500 anti-abortion restrictions have been introduced across 42 states this year alone.
Will This Impact Me?
It depends on where you live. Legislation is quickly moving across the country and it’s difficult to predict which laws will pass, but there are two major takeaways to keep in mind:
We’re headed towards a country with increasingly uneven access to reproductive care. In stark contrast to the regressive ban movement we’ve detailed, 29 states and DC have introduced 231 provisions that would protect abortion access, including making it easier for people to cross state lines to get the care they need. Guttmacher Institute is tracking these laws here. While our nation’s barriers to access rise, one maddening fact remains clear: the country is not actually divided on this issue. Most Americans support abortion rights.
The Dobbs ruling is a harbinger of what’s to come, as the movement resizes their target, focusing on other forms of reproductive health including birth control and emergency contraception (like Generic Plan B).
The Bottom Line
Abortion is facing its greatest threat in a generation, and we want to make sure you have the tools you need to stay up-to-date and fight back. We have a lot in the works, and will continue to share information and resources and encourage you to learn more on your own.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll post on a range of topics, from pregnancy support resources, to debunking common abortion myths, and much more in between. In the meantime, we’ve got the skinny on emergency contraception aka the morning-after pill. Spoiler: the key to avoiding an emergency is to always have emergency contraception on hand.
We’re in this together.