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.”