abortion rights by Hanna Carney May 26, 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill on May 19 that would ban most abortions in Texas. This bill would prohibit abortions 6 weeks into pregnancy.
We saw Georgia attempt to pass a similar law in 2020. However, Georgia’s ban on abortions after six weeks was nullified in July of 2020 for violating Roe v. Wade—the 1973 case that established the constitutional right to an abortion.
But will our new conservative court uphold Roe v. Wade this time around? Will they contradict a precedent set nearly 50 years ago?
Our circumstances changed in July of 2020 when Georgia’s abortion ban was struck down. On September 18, 2020, beloved Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon Ruther Bader Ginsburg passed away.
Former President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to take Ginsburg’s place and has been serving since October 27, 2020. Judge Barrett undoubtedly shifted the court toward the right, as she has a record of conservative voting on most issues—including abortion.
As Margot Sanger-Katz reports in The New York Times, “Analysts at the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the bills, say legislators have been mobilized by the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.”
This analysis holds credible as we can see states like Texas and also Mississippi attempt to take advantage of Judge Barrett’s position in the court as they work to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Barrett declined to speak about her views on abortion laws during her confirmation hearings, but she is viewed “as a home run by conservative Christians and anti-abortion activists” according to The New York Times.
However, Barrett said, “Roe’s core holding that women have a right to an abortion, I don’t think that would change.” She does think, though, that current restrictions could be qualified or intensified.
For example, signing this bill in Texas means that private citizens could sue providers of the banned abortions. This clause is distinct from most other abortion restrictions, as states enforce most restrictions. Thus, it seems that the Texas government’s goal is to make it more difficult for abortion providers to defend themselves in court.
Lack of abortion access in the South and Midwest
Is it a ban on all abortions?
Increased risk of death and injury
Abortion restriction and discrimination
These are few of many inequitable consequences that would result from abortion restrictions.
Americans have experienced trauma after trauma these past couple of years with the pandemic, the tense election, the storming of the capital, and the unjust deaths of AAPI and Black people in the US that reveal just how ugly and bigoted the U.S. is. And now, women’s bodily autonomy is also up for review.
Will we continue to defend women’s constitutional right to an abortion and support the communities that take the brunt of abortion restrictions? Or will we regress, upsetting a precedent we have held for half of a century? Now is the time to act.
If you would like to defend a person’s right to an abortion and fight these restrictions, here are a few petitions worth signing:
Ban death penalty for abortions in Texas
Help Fight Against the 15 Week Abortion Ban in Mississippi