2023 is going to be a big year for anti-abortion policy: Anti-abortion activists could even harness a 19th-century law to curtail talking about abortion.
By Carter Sherman
December 26, 2022
If this is the year that Roe v. Wade fell, 2023 will be the year that kicks off what promises to be a years-long, state-by-state brawl between Americans who believe abortion is essential to freedom and Americans who believe the procedure is murder.
Come January, state legislatures across the country will open for business. Conservative lawmakers will try to narrow the last few avenues to abortion available in red states. Abortion rights activists, buoyed by their victories in the midterms, will push for more ballot measures. Many of these legislative and political showdowns will likely end up in the courts.
The post-Roe rise in births in the U.S. will be concentrated in some of the worst states for infant and maternal health. Plans to improve these outcomes are staggeringly thin.
By Melissa Jeltsen
DECEMBER 16, 2022
A typical pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right to abortion, was reversed less than six months ago. This means the U.S. is currently at a unique inflection point in the history of reproductive rights: early enough to see the immediate effects of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—closed clinics, a rapidly shifting map of abortion access—but too soon to measure the rise in babies born to mothers who did not wish to have them. Many of these babies will be born in states that already have the worst maternal- and child-health outcomes in the nation. Although the existence of these children is the goal of the anti-abortion movement, America is unprepared to adequately care for them and the people who give birth to them.
The major reflections, arguments, and spin.
By Rachel M. Cohen
Nov 17, 2022
When he was campaigning for governor of Minnesota, Scott Jensen first said he’d ban abortions with no exceptions for rape and incest. Later, he said the governor couldn’t do anything about abortion anyway, given Minnesota’s constitutional protections. Last weekend, in a 22-minute Facebook Live video reflecting on his bruising loss, he made a new argument.
“This election was not about inflation, and crime and education...for so many Americans across the country this election was about an intrusion into a person’s autonomy,” he said, referring to abortion. “In the future I think the lesson is clear — at least it should be to Republicans. If you infringe on someone’s freedom, you may well lose. You’ll probably lose.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to end federal protections for abortion access didn’t just rewind the clock 50 years, it opened a Pandora’s box of confusing, potentially life-threatening legal complications. VF talks with five women on the front lines.
BY ABIGAIL TRACY AND ERIN VANDERHOOF
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIANA MARKOSIAN AND DRU DONOVAN
OCTOBER 12, 2022
Tattooed on Caitlin Bernard’s left foot is the image of a coat hanger and the words “Trust Women.” The 38-year-old Indiana-based ob-gyn got it years ago; it was intended as a reminder of life before Roe v. Wade. Bernard has long paired her medical career with advocacy. She was a plaintiff in an unsuccessful 2019 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to reverse Indiana’s near-total ban on second-trimester abortions. Post-Roe, Indiana became the first state to pass an abortion ban. Now, Bernard is girding for another legal fight—this time against Republican Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita, who she says maligned her practice as Bernard became a lightning rod in one of the most publicized cases after the Dobbs decision stripped federal abortion protections and turned the country into a patchwork of disparate laws.
Aug. 31, 2022
By Mary Ziegler
Two months after the fall of Roe v. Wade, abortion has been banned or severely restricted in at least 14 states, energizing leaders of the anti-abortion movement but also activating voters who are opposed to many of these measures. With so much at stake in the next few election cycles — and women’s lives hanging in the balance — both sides of this fight are strategizing their next moves.
For the anti-abortion movement, the emerging plan is an all-out fight for fetal personhood. In many ways this is no surprise — since the 1960s, the movement’s ultimate goal has been to secure legal protections for fetuses and embryos, despite the harm that could be done to the health and livelihoods of pregnant women. The recognition of fetal personhood nationwide could mean a total ban on abortion for everyone in the United States, and if an increasingly sophisticated minority of anti-abortion extremists have their way, many more women would face criminal charges for ending their pregnancies.
By AMANDA SEITZ and JOSH KELETY
July 28, 2022
In televised statements and interviews, anti-abortion advocates have used misleading rhetoric about abortion access to downplay fallout and complications from restrictive abortion laws as doctors, struggling to interpret laws that have largely been untested in courts, turn away pregnant patients for care.
July 8, 2022
For two decades, abortion rights opponents have drafted so-called model legislation and lobbied to get the measures to restrict and ban abortions passed in statehouses across the country in preparation for the eventual fall of Roe v. Wade.
The model legislation and concerted political pressure from national organizations that oppose abortion rights resulted in key terms being cemented into laws, the limitation of abortion access and the influence behind the trigger laws that will go into effect in 13 states this summer as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe.
May 27, 2022
If the federal right to abortion is erased by the U.S. Supreme Court in a few weeks as expected, the legal spotlight will shift immediately to state courts, where experts say judges in some conservative states could surprise everyone and uphold the right to abortion.
“Hundreds of attorneys for abortion advocates across the country are no doubt poised to go into state courts to block enforcement of multiple state abortion laws the minute the decision comes down,” said Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, which opposes abortion. “There will be attempts in all but a few states to create the equivalent of Roe v. Wade.”
Opinion by Mary Ziegler
Mon May 23, 2022
(CNN) The Supreme Court seems ready to undo Roe v. Wade, the landmark case recognizing the right to choose abortion, in a matter of weeks, and blue as well as red states are already preparing for what might be coming next: a conflict between states seeking to facilitate out-of-state travel for abortion and those trying to shut it down.
Strikingly, however, this brewing interstate war would be something relatively new. What has changed to make interstate conflict a possible new front in the abortion wars, and what does it mean for a post-Roe America?
Antiabortion activists and their Republican allies are on the cusp of reaching a goal they have sought for decades in tossing out the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion.
By Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Caroline Kitchener and Rachel Roubein, Washington Post
May 7, 2022
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still remembers the shock he felt when Donald Trump won the 2016 election. He also recalls what happened next.
“The first thing that came to my mind was the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in an interview this past week, remembering his reaction that night as he watched results from a basement office at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He soon called Donald McGahn, campaign counsel to the president-elect, who was slated to become the top White House lawyer.