Editor’s note (9/2/21): This story is being republished 5-4 Supreme Court ruling This refuses to prevent Texas laws that prohibit abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new abortion restriction into law on May 19, 2021, it marked a chilling milestone-since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 Rowe v. Wade Decide. Unless denied in court, it may prevent most abortion care in the state. Among many other hazards, this will force Texans to travel an average of 20 times longer to reach the nearest abortion provider. In the 22 years of working at the Guttmacher Institute, I have read and documented all of these 1,300 restrictions — many of which have been enacted and implemented — to follow the state’s questions on abortion and other issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights Legislation. This is a staggering number. Although many of these laws are blocked in court, most of them are in force today.
But the news from Texas was not the only bad news about abortion rights that week.Just two days ago, on May 17, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear about Mississippi Law-Currently blocked in effect-Abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy will be banned. This news shocked legal experts and supporters of abortion rights, and there are good reasons for this.
A central principle roe The Supreme Court’s subsequent ruling is that states cannot prohibit abortion until they are viable, generally around 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. By trying a case that clearly violated the precedent of nearly 50 years, the court expressed its willingness to overturn the long-standing constitutional protection of abortion.As legal experts at the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “The courts of Mississippi cannot afford to overturn this law. roeCore holdings. “In fact, Mississippi followed up in July and asked the judge to explicitly overturn this historic decision.
Therefore, former President Donald Trump may shape the Supreme Court in the coming decades by appointing conservatives carefully selected by opponents of abortion rights, and is therefore prepared to cause a potentially serious blow. Conservative state policymakers are clearly emboldened by the 6-to-3 majority of judges who oppose abortion rights and the federal judiciary changed by Trump’s more than 200 appointments.
The decision to hear the Mississippi case was made when abortion rights and access rights have been threatened nationwide, and the states will enact a record number of abortion restrictions this year. As of August 5, 19 states had enacted 97 laws. The number includes 12 measures that will prohibit abortions at different times during pregnancy, usually as early as six weeks-before most people even know they are pregnant. This is the largest number of restrictions and prohibitions at this time this year. For many people, even before the Supreme Court takes any new action, affordable and easily accessible abortion care has become a right to talk on paper. Currently, 58% of women of childbearing age live in states that oppose the right to abortion and face multiple restrictions—from bans on insurance coverage, to waiting periods of several days, to deliberately onerous regulations to close clinics—the restrictions are interdependent in order to proceed. Abortion is not available to many people.
A large amount of scientific literature shows that the undesirable consequences of stopping abortion care are serious and long-lasting. Forcing people who want to have an abortion to continue their pregnancy requires them to accept the huge risks of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications against their will, including pre-eclampsia, infection, and death. These risks have a greater impact on some communities than others.U.S. has The highest maternal mortality rate In developed countries, systemic racism and provider bias have created dramatic but preventable racial inequality. Maternal mortality among black and indigenous women It is 2 to 3 times higher than white women and 4 to 5 times higher in the elderly.
The risk of serious consequences does not end with the safe delivery.this Researchers’ turn to research The University of California, San Francisco found that refusing to provide wanted abortion care can adversely affect women’s health, safety, and economic well-being. For example, among women who have been violently attacked by an intimate partner, forced pregnancy to full term often delays separation from the partner, leading to continued violence. In addition, compared with women who have had an abortion, women who are not wanted for an abortion are four times more likely to subsequently live in poverty. They are also three times more likely to be unemployed, and they are less likely to have the financial resources to meet basic needs such as food and housing.
The effects of restrictive policies are further amplified in areas where hostile countries gather in the country, such as the South, the Great Plains, and the Midwest. For people in these areas, traveling to a state with convenient transportation may not be an option due to long distances, logistical or financial barriers.
These barriers to abortion care are the biggest barriers for those who are already struggling to survive or cannot access timely and affordable high-quality healthcare services, such as low-income people, people of color, young people, LGBTQ individuals, and many rural communities. people. Any further retrogression in abortion rights will again disproportionately affect these populations.
If the Supreme Court uses the Mississippi case to further weaken women’s rights to health care, things will get worse—and soon.Twelve states have imposed so-called trigger bans on books (or almost so)-which means they automatically ban abortions roe fall. In addition, in the past ten years, 15 states (including 10 states that have triggered bans) have issued bans on early pregnancy weeks.None of these early abortion bans took effect, but with roe Overthrown, many or all of them can be quickly implemented. Even if abortion rights are weakened by the Supreme Court rather than overthrown, these states will seek to adopt restrictions based on this decision.
But there are many ways to fight back. The states that support abortion, mainly in the West and Northeast, must step up to protect and expand abortion rights and opportunities-both for their own residents and for others who may need to cross state boundaries to seek services. Congress and the Biden administration must do their part to support legislation such as the Women’s Health Protection Act, which will basically abolish many state restrictions and pregnancy bans. Another bill that needs support is the EACH Act; it will repeal the harmful Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except in rare cases, and allows abortion insurance under Medicaid. There are also tireless advocates and volunteers, including abortion fund managers in many states, who have helped abortion patients pay and get care. There is no doubt that these important efforts will be greatly increased if more states start to ban all or most abortions.
As the federal protection of abortion is challenged, people may choose other ways to perform abortion. Whether under the personal management of clinicians or through telemedicine or self-management, abortion-inducing drugs are a safe and effective method. During the COVID pandemic, many people have been able to obtain such drugs by mail. But here, the obstacles are also great. More state legislatures are seeking to join the 19 states that have banned abortion through telemedicine. Just this year, states began to issue a ban on sending abortion pills by mail.
Abortion is health care, simple and straightforward. There were more than 860,000 abortions in the United States in 2017, and at the current rate, almost one in four women will have an abortion at the age of 45. Proponents of abortion rights must hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Most importantly, we must persist in this fight until everyone who needs an abortion has access to safe, affordable and timely care.