The abortion rights movement can learn from the Aids activism of the 80s and 90s

Moira Donegan
Mon 5 Sep 2022

It was already chaos, and now, it was going to get worse. The US supreme court’s decision wasn’t exactly a surprise – everyone knew it was coming – but the rage in the room felt palpable. The language of the opinion had been taunting and cruel; the punishment from the court felt vindictive, personal. People were already dying for lack of access to healthcare; the ruling would push people in need even further to the margins. Now, the most vulnerable faced criminalization, harassment and even death, and for what? For the conservative Christian values that none of them had voted for? For a regressive, punitive, and cruel vision of gender and sexuality that most of the world had long since left behind?

The ruling was Bowers v Hardwick, and the year was 1987. The
supreme court, in a virulently homophobic opinion, had upheld a Georgia law
criminalizing gay sex between consenting adults. At the time, the Aids crisis
was gripping gay America. Out of bigotry and indifference, both the federal
government and the pharmaceutical sector were dragging their feet. Meanwhile,
thousands of people, mostly gay men and IV drug users, were dying slow,
painful, premature deaths, at the margins of a society that hated them and
feared their disease.


USA – A new Supreme Court justice’s dissent on abortion could be game-changing

By Rachel Rebouché and Linda C. McClain, opinion contributors, The Atlantic

With Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement recently announced, national attention has focused on who President Biden will nominate in keeping his promise to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

Another aspect of Biden’s nomination has received far less attention: A new justice on a lopsidedly conservative court would likely join Justice Sonia Sotomayor in writing dissents speaking to the future. The vital role of dissenting opinions is evident this term, as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade by early summer or to weaken it so thoroughly that Roe poses no meaningful barrier to states criminalizing abortion.