As a family medicine doctor with a focus on reproductive health, including abortion care, I have been fighting against this outcome for years, and I’ve already seen a steadily increasing stream of patients who have needed to fly for compassionate abortion care. I’m lucky to live and work in New York, where Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed several laws further codifying and protecting abortion access. Connecticut was the first to pass similar protections, and states like California and Massachusetts are working on legislation. But this is a stark contrast to what Americans in other parts of the country are facing, even though access to high-quality, evidence-based health care should not be based on where you live.
So let’s explore what’s coming next, thanks to the fall of Roe: worsening health care disparities, higher maternal mortality rates, criminalization of pregnant people and their doctors, lack of medical care for people experiencing pregnancy complications, attacks on routine medical care for people who can become pregnant, and broad assaults on human rights currently in place for marginalized groups.
Restrictive states have already set their sights on a new wave of telehealth companies that were supposed to be a panacea for a post-Roe world.
By Julia Craven Mar 29, 2022
When Emma found out she was pregnant in February, it was too late for an in-clinic abortion.
She estimated that she was at six weeks, but Texas, a bastion of retrograde abortion policy, bans the procedure at roughly that mark, so any local options were out of the question. Her local Planned Parenthood told her to prepare to travel out of state and offered to connect her with a clinic. Emma, who takes medication that makes her cycle irregular, wanted an ultrasound to confirm her recollection of the gestation age. But the clinic didn’t have an appointment for the next two weeks.
This Saturday marks the 49th, and quite possibly the last, anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in every state. Roe’s precarious future can be attributed to various factors: the tenacity of the anti-abortion movement, the addition of three conservative justices to the court during Donald Trump’s presidency, the opportunities that pro-choice advocates may have missed. But if, as is widely expected, the Supreme Court upholds a Mississippi statute that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and overturns or guts Roe later this year, I will be thinking about something else: not the legal precedent, but the role that lawlessness and terrorism — and the medical community’s response to it — played in hastening Roe’s demise.
The act of terrorism that particularly haunts me took place on Oct. 23, 1998. That evening, an obstetrician-gynecologist named Barnett Slepian was standing in the kitchen of his home in Amherst, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, when a sniper’s bullet struck him in the back. He collapsed to the floor and, within a few hours, was pronounced dead. At the time, Dr. Slepian was one of three abortion providers in the Greater Buffalo area. One of the others was my father, Shalom Press, an obstetric gynecologist who performed abortions on certain days in his private practice.
A short history of the Roe decision’s emergence as a signature cause for the right
Jessica Glenza Sun 5 Dec 2021
Public opinion on abortion in the US has changed little since 1973, when the supreme court in effect legalized the procedure nationally in its ruling on the case Roe v Wade. According to Gallup, which has the longest-running poll on the issue, about four in five Americans believe abortion should be legal, at least in some circumstances.
Yet the politics of abortion have opened deep divisions in the last five decades, which have only grown more profound in recent years of polarization. In 2021, state legislators have passed dozens of restrictions to abortion access, making it the most hostile year to abortion rights on record.
Attacks on reproductive rights have metastasized well beyond abortion in recent years, endangering women’s health and lives.
By Michele Goodwin Nov 12, 2021
In the nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, there has perhaps never been a more consequential moment for abortion rights than the one we are in now. This fall, the nation’s highest court is hearing not one but three cases that could upend the fundamental promise at the heart of Roe: that pregnant women in the United States have a right to an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, which is around 24 weeks. On November 1, the court heard the first two of these cases, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas, which addressed Texas’s near-total abortion ban, the law known as SB 8. And on December 1, the court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which takes on the 15-week abortion ban passed by Mississippi in 2018. In that case, the state has made a direct appeal to the Supreme Court to overrule Roe.
In addition to helping people get to abortion appointments out of state, volunteer groups have been inundated with requests to deliver Plan B pills and pregnancy tests.
By Lizzie Widdicombe October 6, 2021
Amanda Bennett was in the Texas legislature this past May, on the day that Senate Bill 8, a near-total ban on abortions, was passed by the state’s House of Representatives. Bennett, a twenty-nine-year-old pro-choice activist, had gone to the capitol to protest the legislation. She recalled the eerie calm that day—there wasn’t much debate over the law, which prohibits abortions upon detection of fetal cardiac activity (starting as early as six weeks into a pregnancy) and does not make exceptions for survivors of rape or incest. Many observers assumed that the law would soon be struck down in court. “It wasn’t anything like Wendy Davis’s filibuster,” Bennett said, referring to the Texas state senator’s thirteen-hour attempt to block S.B. 5, an earlier antiabortion bill, in 2013. “It just passed quietly. I honestly think even some of the Republicans thought it was purely symbolic.” But, nearly four months later, the Supreme Court refused to strike down the ban, and getting an abortion in Texas, which was already extremely difficult, became almost impossible.
As a new Texas law restricts access to abortion, we speak to women who previously traveled for such medical care.
BY DANIELLE CAMPOAMOR September 21, 2021
On Wednesday, September 1, a near-total abortion ban went into effect in the state of Texas, outlawing abortion past six weeks gestation—before most people even know they’re pregnant. Given pre-existing anti-abortion laws that already made it difficult for Texans to access abortion care—including a 24-hour mandatory waiting period, mandatory counseling, and targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) that previously shuttered over half of all abortion clinics in the state—many will now have to travel out of state to receive the healthcare they need. As a result of this latest law, the average one-way driving distance to an abortion clinic in Texas has increased 20 fold, from 12 miles to 248 miles, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
But people have been traveling to receive abortion care long before Texas’s abortion ban went into effect.
States are passing more abortion restrictions, which could reshape what abortion access looks like across the country.
July 25, 2021 By Chloe Atkins
The current landscape of abortion access in the United States came into focus in May after the Supreme Court decided to consider the legality of Mississippi's ban on nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi’s restriction was the first to reach the court from a wave of state laws intended to strike down Roe v. Wade, the decision that established the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide.
The first major abortion case since the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett solidified a conservative majority comes as state legislatures around the country have brought a historic number of laws seeking to tighten abortion access.
Will other states follow Texas’ lead? Will clinics be able to withstand the potential onslaught of lawsuits? “We have no idea what this is going to look like,” says Dr. Bhavik Kumar.
JULY 16, 2021 By TESSA STUART
Dr. Bhavik Kumar has been a Texas abortion provider for six years, with the last two at the Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston, Texas. He started practicing shortly after House Bill 2 — the last Texas abortion law to go all the way to the Supreme Court before it was struck down as unconstitutional — went into effect. In the three years between the law’s passage and the Supreme Court’s decision, HB2 forced roughly half of Texas’ abortion providers to shut their doors.
A new bill, passed by the Texas State Legislature in May and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, has the potential to be even more disruptive. Instead of outlawing abortion outright, the new law empowers private citizens to sue doctors like Kumar, nurses, members of his staff, as well as anyone else who “aids and abets” an abortion — family members who drive patients to the clinic, faith leaders who provide counseling, abortion funds — for $10,000 each. The ban applies to abortions that take place after heart activity can be detected in the embryo — six weeks gestation, or roughly two weeks after a woman’s missed period, when many women don’t even know they are pregnant yet.