The pro-life movement is now focused on three major strategies at the state level.
By David S. Cohen, Greer Donley, and Rachel Rebouché - The Atlantic
JULY 11, 2022
The Dobbs decision will forever change many people’s lives. But it also sparked a legal revolution that is just beginning. State by state, the movement that fought to overturn Roe v. Wade is now fighting for even more extreme measures.
This means that the harshest restrictions on abortion are yet to come. As the anti-abortion movement works toward its goal of a nationwide abortion ban, we can expect it to pursue three major legal strategies now that Roe has been overruled.
How will the abortion pill be regulated in a post-Roe country? Four big questions about the looming legal battles.
By RACHEL REBOUCHÉ, DAVID S. COHEN and GREER DONLEY
After the disclosure of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the Supreme Court’s abortion case, there has been a flurry of commentary about the return to pre-Roe times. Much of that coverage has focused on the expenses and legal intricacies of abortion travel, bottlenecks at clinics in abortion-supportive states and the likelihood of criminal prosecution in anti-abortion states.
These are valid concerns if Roe is overturned, after which about half the states would make abortion illegal. But in one major respect, abortion has changed dramatically since 1973 when Roe was decided: the uptake of medication abortion, the two-drug regimen (mifepristone followed by misoprostol) that ends a pregnancy through ten weeks with pills. In 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54 percent of all abortions.
March 13, 2022
By David S. Cohen, Greer Donley and Rachel Rebouché
A recently introduced Missouri provision would allow
private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident get an abortion in
The provision is part of a wave of state anti-abortion
legislation, some of it quite radical, that’s being considered in the months
ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health
Organization — the case that’s expected to severely compromise, if not entirely
jettison, the nationwide right to abortion under Roe v. Wade. The result of
such an outcome would be that about half the states in the country would ban
nearly all abortions.
Dec. 30, 2021
By David S. Cohen, Greer Donley and Rachel Rebouché
The constitutional right to abortion has never been more fragile than it is heading into 2022. The Supreme Court has allowed S.B. 8, Texas’ drastic — and clearly unconstitutional — ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, to remain in place for months, making Roe v. Wade virtually a dead letter in the state. Even worse, a Supreme Court decision that’s expected this summer is likely to either gut Roe or overturn the precedent altogether, paving the way for total abortion bans in about half the states around the country.
If the high court refuses to uphold abortion rights for all Americans and with Congress hopelessly stalemated over legislation that would codify a federal right to abortion, the Biden administration can and should act boldly to protect abortion access. But it will require some outside-the-box thinking — and a willingness to experiment with tactics that may well fail. If President Biden supports abortion as a critical right, as he has suggested, then he and his administration must take risks and get creative in pursuit of that goal. The anti-abortion movement has repeatedly pushed the envelope without fear of defeat. It’s time for activists and politicians who support abortion rights to do the same.
That, to put it mildly, is not good news for the future of abortion rights
DECEMBER 1, 2021
By DAVID S. COHEN
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard a Mississippi case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. After almost two hours of oral argument, it’s clear that the fate of nationwide legal abortion is now in the hands of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. That’s not good news for the future of abortion rights.
The case argued today involved a ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. Roe and subsequent Supreme Court cases had been entirely clear that states could not ban abortion before “viability,” a medical term indicating when a fetus has developed enough that it could survive outside a woman on its own (though with extraordinary medical intervention). For most pregnancies, that’s about 23 or 24 weeks.
On Wednesday, the justices will hear the most important abortion case in decades, one that could undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade.
By Adam Liptak
Nov. 28, 2021
WASHINGTON — In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court drew a line. The Constitution, it said, did not allow states to ban abortions before the fetus could survive outside the womb.
On Wednesday, when the court hears the most important abortion case in a generation, a central question will be whether the court’s conservative majority is prepared to erase that line. The case concerns a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, long before fetal viability.
Does that mean it might be safe?
BY DAVID S. COHEN AND DAHLIA LITHWICK
JULY 28, 2021
One of the most interesting fissures that has opened up within the conservative legal movement in recent years has been between mainstream conservative lawyers and the growing performance artist faction of the lawyers for the Trump base. Soon, the conservative justices themselves will have to pick which side of the battle they are on: With the filing last week of a brief that explicitly asks the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the state of Mississippi is forcing the court’s three newest Trump-appointed justices to choose between institutional stability and law that channels right-wing internet memes.
By using the same religious liberty argument as Hobby Lobby, The Satanic Temple is trying to have its members exempted from state abortion laws
By DAVID S. COHEN
August 24, 2020
One of the overarching themes of the Supreme Court’s recent term was that it was surprisingly liberal on several major issues: upholding gay rights, striking down an abortion restriction, and rejecting the President’s request to be immune from having to turn over his financial records. All of this is true, but that doesn’t make this Court liberal. Rather, despite these rulings, this is still a very conservative court. And one area this has been evident is religious freedom.
In a series of three cases, the Court ruled that religion has a particularly special place in American law. So special, in fact, that religious entities can be exempt from generally applicable anti-discrimination laws, can refuse to follow Obamacare mandates about coverage of preventive medical care, and can force the state to send them public funds for students at their religious schools. This has been a trend for the John Roberts Supreme Court — religious entities have won claims of religious liberty in 12 of the 13 cases to come before the Court since 2012.
July 15, 2020
By David S. Cohen
June Medical v. Russo was a victory for Louisiana’s three independent abortion clinics and the thousands of people in the state they can now continue to serve. But, going forward, Chief Justice Roberts’ concurring opinion could pave the way for federal courts to bless a host of abortion restrictions that would make access to care more difficult.
To understand what might happen based on the Chief’s opinion, it’s instructive to look at Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that case, the Court announced the undue burden test, a test that in theory could have had bite. Per the decision, “An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”
The long fight for reproductive rights is only getting harder
Book review, By Katha Pollitt
May 13, 2020
Fifteen-year-old Talia didn’t realize she was pregnant until well into her second trimester. Ending the pregnancy meant she had to get a judge’s approval. Neither parent could fulfill her state’s consent requirement because one was missing and the other was involved in her life only now and then. When she arranged a clinic visit 24 hours before the abortion, per the state law for minors, she wound up at a “fake women’s health center” next door to the real abortion clinic. The people there did everything they could to dissuade her from ending her pregnancy, including falsely telling her that they would do it later (past her state’s deadline), but Talia remained firm in her decision. Lacking health insurance that covered abortion, she had to come up with $4,000 for the procedure.