by: Eliza Siegel, Stacker
Jul 28, 2023
The Postal Service can legally deliver abortion medications in the U.S.—including to states with abortion restrictions or bans—according to a Justice Department decision posted online late Jan. 3. The Postal Service requested that the Justice Department provide guidance on this issue a week after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022. That ruling, which sparked intense debate across the U.S., led to abortion restrictions and bans in many states.
In its decision, the Justice Department ruled that sending, delivering, and receiving abortion drugs by mail is not in violation of the 1873 Comstock Act —which aimed to prevent morally “corrupt” items from being delivered by mail—because there is no way to determine that the intent of the recipient is to commit an unlawful act. There are also no federal restrictions on the drugs in question.
In places where abortion is now illegal, a range of pregnancy losses could be subject to state scrutiny.
By Melissa Jeltsen
JULY 1, 2022
Before last week, women attempting to have their pregnancies terminated in states hostile to abortion rights already faced a litany of obstacles: lengthy drives, waiting periods, mandated counseling, throngs of volatile protesters. Now they face a new reality. Although much is still unknown about how abortion bans will be enforced, we have arrived at a time when abortions—and even other pregnancy losses—might be investigated as potential crimes. In many states across post-Roe America, expect to see women treated like criminals.
On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending abortion as a constitutional right. Nearly half of U.S. states either are in the process of implementing trigger bans—which were set up to outlaw abortions quickly after Roe was overturned—or seem likely to soon severely curtail abortion access. Reproductive-rights experts told me that in the near future, they expect to see more criminal investigations and arrests of women who induce their own abortions, as well as those who lose pregnancies through miscarriage and stillbirth.
by Isabelle Taft
June 8, 2022
When Mississippi asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, it argued that a long tradition of state restrictions on abortion in the U.S. “defeats any claim of a deeply rooted right” to an abortion.
Yet for all but 21 of its 156 years as a state prior to Roe, Mississippi law technically permitted abortion for any reason until about 16 weeks of pregnancy.
By Maggie Koerth
JUN. 2, 2022
A metal coat hanger can’t speak, but it can send a message. Long a symbol of the dangers faced by people seeking to end pregnancies in the years before Roe v. Wade, coat hangers stand in for a whole inventory of physical horrors, most of which never involved coat hangers, specifically. Over the past few weeks, protesters have mailed hangers to the Supreme Court in an effort to evoke that past era — from the so-called back-alley butchers who botched surgical procedures and sexually harassed patients, to the terrible lengths individuals went through to give themselves an abortion at home. The message is simple and brutal: Without safe and legal abortion, the protesters believe, people will die.
by Irin Carmon, Maps by Marcus Peabody
May 23, 2022
The legal right to abortion is likely to disappear in half the country in a matter of weeks. Abortion itself, and the need for it, will not, and never has. The question is what it will cost medically, financially — and criminally.
In his leaked draft opinion demolishing Roe v. Wade, expected to be finalized in June, Justice Samuel Alito said abortion’s legality is not “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.” Abortion’s reality unquestionably is. “The historical record clearly shows that generations of women desired and needed abortions, and neither law nor church nor taboo could stop them,” Leslie Reagan writes in her definitive history, When Abortion Was a Crime. She quotes a doctor’s letter from 1888: “I am sure there is no comparison between the number of abortions committed by doctors and the number committed by women themselves,” he wrote. “They talk about such matters commonly and impart information unsparingly.”
October 11, 2021
Sarah Handel, Ailsa Chang, Matt Ozug
NPR - 16-Minute Podcast, with Transcript
Abortion-rights activist Patricia Maginnis died earlier this year at age 93. She's a lesser-known figure in the movement, but her ideas — which started as fringe — became mainstream.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
There was a time in most places in this country where if you got an abortion,
you could face interrogation by police, which meant decades ago, the vast
majority of people seeking abortions in the U.S. had to go underground for a
doctor or secretly perform the procedure on themselves or simply leave the
A combination of legal restrictions on voting and abortion, physical violence and intimidation tactics have emerged again during a time of renewed challenges to white male supremacy.
by CARRIE N. BAKER
In the first four months of 2021, Republican lawmakers introduced over 360 bills to restrict voting rights and 536 bills to restrict abortion rights. The defeat of Donald Trump, and Biden’s attempts to dismantle Trump’s white supremacist agenda, have inspired a fevered campaign by state-level Republican lawmakers of voter suppression and abortion restrictions. While at first glance these efforts might appear to be unrelated, they are deeply connected, says Smith College professor Loretta Ross.
“The right-wing has an intersectional agenda. Their whole plan is to maintain a white majority by whatever means possible. So that requires them to try to socially engineer white women into having more babies and to restrict voting rights and immigrant rights,” Ross told Ms.
October 27, 2020
Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation could open the door to a world that many anti-abortion-rights activists have been envisioning for decades.
"I hope and pray that we will be in a world post-Roe v. Wade," said Carrie Murray Nellis, 41, an adoption attorney based in Georgia.
Not Your Grandmother’s Illegal Abortion
By Jennifer Block
July 1, 2019
The sola variety of papaya resembles a pregnant uterus, so much so that around the world, humans use the fruit to learn one method of modern reproductive health care: manual vacuum aspiration, or MVA, a low-risk, low-tech method of first-trimester abortion that requires little or no anesthesia. As one doctor remarked at a conference in 1973, where the technology was introduced to physicians from around the world, “it’s something we will be able to bring practically into the rice paddy.”
This, too, is the fruit I have been given to practice on. I’ve placed it on a table across from me, and I’m focused on the neck, where its stem grew, which evokes the cervical os. The tool I’m using is a large plastic syringe with a bendable plastic strawlike thing, called a cannula, where the needle would be. At the top of the syringe is a bivalve to create one-way suction.
Post-Roe America Won’t Be Like Pre-Roe America. It Will Be Worse.
The new abortion bans are harsher than the old ones.
By Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist
May 16, 2019
This week, Alabama’s governor signed legislation banning most abortions without exceptions for rape or incest, with sentences of up to 99 years in prison for abortion providers. It follows a measure that Georgia’s governor signed last week effectively banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and that is worded in a way that could lead to prosecutions of women who terminate their pregnancies after that point. Missouri’s Senate approved an eight-week abortion ban on Thursday, also without exceptions for rape or incest. It contains a trigger that will ban abortion outright if Roe v. Wade falls. A Louisiana six-week abortion ban is likely to be next.
You can see, in the anti-abortion movement, a mood of triumphant anticipation. Decades of right-wing politics have all led up to this moment, when an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court could end women’s constitutional protection against being forced to carry a pregnancy and give birth against their will.