WASHINGTON (AP), — The Supreme Court is weighing the future of 1973 Roe v. Wade. A resurgent antiabortion movement is trying to push its advantage in state by-state battles, while abortion-rights advocates prepare to defend.
Both sides seem to believe that Roe will be overturned or severely weakened by a court that has been reshaped under former President Donald Trump.
Elizabeth Nash, state analyst at the Guttmacher Institute (a research organization that supports abortion rights), said, “We have a storm in our future.” “We must weather the storm so that in five, 10, or 15 years’ time we can talk about how we repealed all these abortion bans.”
According to the institute, 26 states could institute restrictions on abortion access within one year if allowed by the court. There are at least 12 states with “trigger bans”, which would be in effect in the event that the court overturns or weakens federal protections for abortion access.
The case Dobbs against Jackson Women’s Health Organization is about a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Roe v. Wade was confirmed in the Planned Parenthood casey 1992 ruling. States can regulate, but not ban, abortion until the point when fetal viability is reached, usually around 24 weeks.
Although the fate of the Mississippi case will not be known until months, opening arguments suggests Roe is in serious trouble. Six of the conservative justices on the court, including Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barret and Neil Gorsuch, stated that they would uphold Mississippi law.
“There is no doubt that the Supreme Court’s statements were incredibly troubling,” stated Ianthe Metzger (director of state media campaigns, Planned Parenthood Action Fund), one of the most prominent supporters of abortion access rights. It wasn’t surprising, but it was alarming.
Susan Arnall is the director of outreach for Right to Life League’s anti-abortion Right to Life League. She said that Justice Samuel Alito stressed the concept of “viability,” which is a guide principle for when to ban termination of a pregnancy. She believes that medical advances will continue to narrow the time frame in which a fertile fetus can be considered viable. This will open the door for a variety of state-level medically complex debates.
Arnall stated that viability is something that can be studied medically. It’s going to become intensely legal, and also medical. It will be a battle between doctors and lawyers.
Both sides appear to have been planning for this moment for many years, especially with Trump’s installation of more than 200 federal judges during his presidency and three Supreme Court justices. Open Secrets, an independent group that tracks political spending, reports that pro-abortion-access groups contributed $8 million to 2018 and more than $10,000,000 in 2020.
These numbers surpass the public contributions by anti-abortion organizations, which gave $2.6 million in 2018 to open secrets and $6.3 million in 2020. It is difficult to account for all the money flowing due to the complex network of non-profits and dark money funds.
Washington remains the main battleground. However, conservative leaders are treating Roe’s death as inevitable and the judicial battle as won. Next up will be a cat-and-mouse battle in the state legislatures and next year’s national elections.
Brian Burch, president and CEO of CatholicVote, said, “People are realizing this seven months from now we’ll probably deal with this at a state level.” “This will be more prominent in state elections, particularly governor’s races.”
Many Republican-led states have their legislatures ready to act depending on the Supreme Court’s decision. The 6th U.S. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated earlier rulings that blocked a Tennessee law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. This took place approximately six weeks ago. ordered a rehearing of the full court.
Nash stated, “The battle in the statehouses has been ongoing for decades and it will intensify.”
The Supreme Court’s decision is expected to be made in June. This almost guarantees that the issue will dominate next autumn’s congressional elections and state-level races across the country.
Arnall, of the Right to Life League, said that “that’s perfect timing” just before the midterms.
This ruling could spark a frenzy of activity regarding medicinal abortions, a medical option that was not available when Roe was passed. The Food and Drug Administration approved “Day After” pills in 2000. It had restrictions, including a requirement for a clinic visit before a patient could be prescribed the two pill regimen and a ban from sending them via the mail.
During the coronavirus pandemic, these restrictions were lifted. After a consultation over the phone with a doctor, women can now get the pills by mail. They don’t have to go to a clinic. Although the FDA will soon review this stance, Republican-controlled statehouses are likely to immediately attack those policies.
Nash stated, “Medical abortions will be very high up on the agenda.” This is the frontier.
Texas has passed , a law that effectively prohibits most surgical abortions after six-weeks. now has , a new restriction which makes it a crime to give medical abortion pills after seven week of pregnancy, and criminalizes sending the medication by mail.
Mimi Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro Choice said that Texas has once again been able to discredit care and push it out of reach. “There are no limits to the brutal measures that anti-choice extremists will take in their pursuit of power and control.”
Proponents of abortion access insist that they are ready for state-by-state battles despite the historical setbacks. They have multiple options to help women who are seeking abortions to travel to states that can provide them. Metzger of Planned Parenthood predicted that the renewed threat would spark a huge wave of public support for abortion rights.
Metzger stated, “There is no doubt that (abortion opponents), have been playing an 40-year game.” It’s only continuing to raise the alarm for us. The threat is becoming very real. This is no longer a hypothetical argument.