What happened yesterday?
On May 2nd, Politico released a draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down Roe v. Wade.
According to the draft, the court would overturn Roe v. Wade's holding of a federal constitutional right to abortion. This would be the most consequential abortion decision in decades and transform reproductive health in the United States.
The final opinion has not been released, and votes and language can change before its final release. It is expected to be published in late June. In a statement on Tuesday, May 3rd, President Joe Biden says, "We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the court."
The State of Abortion Rights
Abortion Activists have been preparing for the weakening or overturning of Roe v. Wade. By late June 2022, the Supreme court is expected to hand down a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which addresses a Mississippi law banning nearly all abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy. This is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court's follow on decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey nearly two decades after the original decision. Based on these past cases, states can ban abortion (except when the mother's health or life is threatened) only past 23-24 weeks (this has been deemed the point of fetal viability). Byupholding the Mississippi, it would, in essence, nullify Roe's recognition of the constitutional right to abortion. According to a 2021 Gallup poll, fewer than one in three Americans supports that outcome.
What would a reversal of Roe V. Wade mean?
A reversal of Roe v. Wade would leave abortion policy up to individual states. This would result in a patchwork system where abortion is available in some states but completely banned in others. 13 states have "trigger bans" on the books-- laws that will take effect the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. More than half of all states are certain or likely to attempt to ban abortion if the Supreme Court provides legal space to do so.
For many Americans, Roe already feels meaningless. Nearly 90% of US counties lack a clinic that offers abortions. States have passed more than 1,300 restrictions on abortion since it was made a constitutional right. For most Americans, those restrictions make getting an abortion nearly impossible. Obtaining an abortion often means traveling long distances, paying for transportation & lodging, and taking time off from work. The cost of an in-clinic abortion ranges from about $500 to more than $1,000. Because of the Hyde Amendment, the cost of abortions is not eligible for federal funding, which makes them inaccessible for many low-income people.
What can we do now?
Grassroots organization and abortion funds are crucial to keep abortions accessible (and increase their accessibility where already limited).
To find an abortion clinic near you, check out https://www.ineedana.com/
There is a strong network of abortion funds throughout the country that provide financial and practical support. Find your local fund at https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion
Where to donate:
Abortion Care Network, to increase access to abortions: https://abortioncarenetwork.org/
Keep Our Clinics, to keep independent clinics (which provide 2/3rds of all abortions) open: https://keepourclinics.org/
Indigenous Women Rising, to provide financial & practical support for Indigenous abortion seekers in the US and Canada, midwifery support, and advocacy for reproductive justice: https://www.iwrising.org/
Donate to your local abortion fund: https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion