Why anti-abortion groups are backing away from abortion bans
Debate around a Tennessee bill shows a big shift in anti-abortion strategy.
By Anna North
Aug 22, 2019
When legislators in Tennessee debated a bill earlier this month that would ban abortion as soon as a pregnancy can be detected, opposition came from a surprising place: anti-abortion groups.
Though the groups National Right to Life and Tennessee Right to Life oppose abortion, they also oppose the Tennessee ban, because they believe it would never stand up in court. If such a ban were to make it to the Supreme Court, the groups worry it would fail: “There is no objective evidence that we have more than one vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said James Bopp, general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization,” in testimony against the bill.
Missouri and the Fight for Abortion Rights: How Past Became Prologue
Missouri’s historic battle for abortion rights presaged in important ways where we are today, and what will be required of reproductive rights advocates in the future.
Aug 1, 2019
The time, the late 1960s; the place, St. Louis, Missouri. Judy Widdicombe, a twenty-something self-described supermom, was raising two boys with her husband, working as a labor and delivery nurse in a Catholic hospital, and volunteering one night a week as a counselor on a suicide prevention hotline.
“In those days, there was no official place a woman with an unwanted pregnancy could go for help,” she told me when I interviewed her for my book, The Choices We Made: 25 Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion.
A Supreme Court Reporter Defines the Threat to Abortion Rights
By Isaac Chotiner
May 14, 2019
The past two weeks have been some of the worst on record for abortion rights in the U.S. Last week, the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, signed a bill that outlaws abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Now Alabama is planning to go a step further, with the country’s most extreme anti-abortion law. Under the proposed legislation, abortion would be criminalized, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest; doctors could face a ninety-nine-year prison sentence for terminating a pregnancy. The Alabama House has passed the bill, and the Senate is expected to vote on the measure on Tuesday evening.
Both the Georgia and Alabama laws are sure to be challenged in court, but the legal climate surrounding abortion is different than it was just last year. After the replacement of the Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts is the swing vote, and many conservatives have reason to hope that the Court will rule in favor of new restrictions on abortion and eventually even overturn Roe v. Wade.
John Roberts plays a waiting game on ‘Roe v. Wade’
By Harry Litman, Contributing columnist
February 13, 2019
The Supreme Court last week suspended a Louisiana abortion law, the justices' first significant action in an abortion case since the appointment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. What does the decision portend for the future of Roe v. Wade in particular and reproductive rights in general?
The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, centers on a challenge to a provision in the Louisiana law (named, tellingly, “the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act”) requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic where they perform abortions. The ostensible idea is to have quick access to a hospital in the event something goes awry, threatening the health of the mother. Critics argued that the effect of the law would be to reduce to one (from the current four) the number of doctors who can perform abortions at the state’s three operating clinics.
A so-called victory shows how the Supreme Court will kill ‘Roe v. Wade’
By Leah Litman
February 8 2019
The Supreme Court gave reproductive justice advocates an unexpected win on Thursday night when it voted 5 to 4 to stay a court of appeals’ decision that could have closed abortion clinics in Louisiana. The chief justice joined the four more liberal justices in voting to prevent the Louisiana law from going into effect. That small achievement underscores how much progressives stand to lose with the new court and how low our standards for victory have become.
At issue in June Medical Services v. Gee is a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the providers perform abortions. Just two and a half years ago, the Supreme Court held that very same requirement unconstitutional when Texas enacted it.
How Sandra Day O’Connor’s legacy could make it easier to gut abortion rights
Her most influential abortion decision may contain the seeds of Roe v. Wade’s destruction.
By Anna North
Oct 26, 2018
Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court, announced on Tuesday that she will step back from public life after a diagnosis of dementia.
O’Connor’s announcement coincides with a turning point on the Supreme Court. Some of her most influential opinions in her 25 years on the Court had to do with abortion rights. A moderate on a Court that moved to the right during her tenure, she cast a crucial vote to uphold Roe v. Wade in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and she’s often seen today as a defender of abortion rights.
How Abortion Rights Will Die a Death by 1,000 Cuts
Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court would mean the demise of not just abortion rights but also a century of progressive reforms.
By Serena Mayeri
Aug. 30, 2018
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s voluminous record, his opinion of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, and his views on legal precedent have deservedly been scrutinized in the lead-up to his confirmation hearings next week. But the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, more than Roe, holds the key to understanding the stakes of Judge Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation.
It is Casey that now protects women’s access to reproductive health care in states whose restrictions on health care providers and patients threaten to close clinics or ban abortions outright. And the political lesson conservatives learned from Casey all but guarantees that a vote for Judge Kavanaugh is a vote not only to endanger abortion rights but to turn back the clock on a century of progressive reforms.
Self-Managed Abortion Care Becomes Urgent as Threats to Roe v. Wade Mount
by Katie Klabusich, Truthout
Published August 19, 2018
When President Trump took office just over a year and a half ago, activists could only make educated guesses about whether his promised onslaught against reproductive health care would truly come to pass. The current picture is worse than expected due to attacks from rogue agency heads throughout the Trump-Pence administration who are collaborating to deny access to care to people across the country.
These agency heads include Betsy Devos at the Department of Education, who is working in tandem with the new division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights to reduce access to contraception; Scott Lloyd, who has directed the Office of Refugee Resettlement to deny abortion care to immigrant minors; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has announced a “religious liberty task force” to shore up already existing “conscience clauses” allowing employees to refuse care.
It’s Not Just Roe: How the Future Supreme Court Could Gut Abortion Rights
By Talcott Camp, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
July 10, 2018
Now that President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, it will be up to the Senate to fully vet him so that the American people can determine whether he will uphold the basic civil rights and liberties relied on by everyone in this country. This is particularly true when it comes to abortion rights, where Kavanaugh’s prior opinions on the subject, coupled with the fact that Donald Trump vowed to only nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, give rise to serious concern about women’s continued ability to access abortion if Kavanaugh is confirmed.
10 legal experts on the future of Roe v. Wade after Kennedy
His decision to retire could lead to more “incremental” attacks against the landmark decision.
By Li Zhouli
Jul 2, 2018
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement has spurred a raft of questions about how key legal precedents could shift under the tenure of a likely more conservative replacement — and chief among these is the fate of Roe v. Wade.
The landmark 1973 case that guaranteed women’s legal right to an abortion has been on conservatives’ target list for some time, and although Kennedy was appointed by a Republican president, he frequently sided with the liberal wing of the court and acted as a swing vote on cases preserving abortion rights.