In Shel Silverstein’s classic children’s book The tree that gives, the majestic tree gives itself and itself to a demanding little boy, until it is nothing more than a stump to sit on. It’s an apt metaphor for how the Supreme Court allowed abortion opponents to hack Roe deer v. Wade for almost 50 years. Now, the ultra-conservative Supreme Court’s review of an abortion ban in Mississippi could provide the final blow.
Pruning away from Roe deer is not new. It didn’t start until a few years later Roe deer and was particularly pronounced in 1992 in Planned Parenthood c.Casey, a case that Kathryn (Kitty) argued in court. At the time, court observers believed that Roe deer would be overturned, but Kitty and her legal team persuaded the Supreme Court that Roe deerThe fundamental principles of society must be respected. the Casey the court retained the vital “viability line” which guaranteed the right to choose an abortion until the fetus is viable (usually between 24 and 28 weeks), then when the pregnancy endangers the life or health of a woman. wife. Yet the Casey The court made a key concession to anti-abortion forces: It allowed lawmakers to build fences that aborted patients had to cross to receive care, as long as those barriers did not constitute an “undue burden.”
In the years that followed, as the courts became more and more conservative, abortion services disappeared. For low-income women and disproportionately for women of color, adolescent girls and those living in rural areas, restrictions have made abortion and many other essential reproductive health services nearly impossible.
The recent Supreme Court decision to review the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law prohibiting all abortions at 15 weeks, well ahead of viability, places Roe deer-and Casey“Directly on the chopping block. It would be naive to think that the court could pass up this opportunity to carve Roe deer. In 1992, returning behind the curtain after hearing a plea to Casey, five judges voted to cancel Roe deer and allow states to ban abortion. It was only a last-minute change in vote by Judge Anthony Kennedy that prevented the court from taking this drastic step. Today, six Supreme Court justices are anti-abortion. Additionally, former President Donald Trump’s appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett means five ultra-conservative justices no longer need to take a more moderate approach just to persuade Chief Justice John Roberts to join them in cancel existing protections.
If the court allows Mississippi law to come into effect, states will be free to ban all or most abortions, and many of them likely will. We estimate that up to a third of states will ban immediately or soon after abortion.
It is too late to change the composition of the Supreme Court to avoid the blow that the court is likely to deliver. But it is not too late to preserve, and even develop, the freedom of reproduction in other ways. It is essential to influence those in state legislatures and Congress that will determine the next set of abortion laws. Saving abortion right from the ax requires those who value reproductive freedom to be politically active in many ways. Vote in all elections – and not just presidential elections – and the entire voting process, including legislative and judicial candidates, are essential. Ahead of polling day, abortion rights supporters clearly need to campaign for candidates who will stand up for these rights once elected. The first immediate priority must be to let Congress know that voting reforms are urgently needed to end the suppression of right-wing voters and gerrymandered districts, in order to preserve the basic ability to vote anti-abortion politicians out of power.
In the months to come, we’ll likely see Red States act to ban all or most abortions, as Texas did last week. If abortion supporters run out of votes to defeat these opportunistic attacks on our rights, let’s make sure we put on a big stink. Activists in Argentina and Poland staged flamboyant protests this year, which sparked activism in their countries. Loud and creative protests will be important to garner national attention when states brazenly ban abortion as the Supreme Court approaches the Mississippi case in the fall and for the foreseeable future.
If you live in a Blue State where there is a majority of abortion rights, urge your lawmakers to be pillars of preserving reproductive freedom, providing welcome refuge for women forced to travel from hostile climates. where the duties fell. Massachusetts and Virginia are just two of the states that recently passed omnibus laws providing statutory protections for abortion and repealing restrictions. The availability of safe and legal abortion in a patchwork of states can provide much-needed shelter, especially when combined with funding for travel, child care, and other related expenses. And if you live in a purple state, work to make it blue.
Because national protections are always better, don’t forget the Congress and the Presidency. A Congress with a majority of abortion rights can enact laws protecting abortion rights and providing better access to the health care and support services that are necessary for women to have the capacity to choose to lead. or not a full term pregnancy.
We cannot allow vital and long-standing reproductive freedoms to distort and overturn the whims of court decisions or the whims of Supreme Court justices. As the tribunal descends on the gift tree, we must plant new forests to more boldly and widely advance reproductive freedom as a basic constitutional and human right.