Nearly a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made a truly landmark decision when it found the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
While many had warned about it, the speed at which the ability for a woman to choose her own medical care being taken away has been breathtaking as we look back. Abortions are now banned in 14 states. Five other states have partial bans, from as early as six weeks. Eight states have tried to ban abortions but were defeated. There have even been attempts to make it a crime to leave one state to get an abortion in another state.
In Congress, House Republicans only recently abandoned a years-long push by their party to pass a federal abortion ban.
Twenty seven states and the District of Columbia, a group that New Jersey is included in, have maintained and have offered new protections for abortion since last June.
But those opposed to abortion have not stopped at banning abortion in their attempts to control women and their reproductive choices—they want to make birth control pills illegal as well.
In the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v FDA case emanating from Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk imposed a nationwide ban on mifepristone as the former anti-abortion activist declared that the FDA had improperly approved the drug 23 years ago. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed an immediate ban despite dissenting opinions from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito that make it clear in Alito case he believes the ban has merit; oral arguments in lower courts are set for May 17. The case is expected to reach the Supreme Court in the next term.
Between Republicans lawmakers and conservative judges working in tandem, politicians have rolled back 50 years of a woman’s right to choose.
Abortion is one of those cases in America where politics, gender, race, religion, health, and morality are all mixed up in a cauldron that makes for explosive dividing lines. It is probably the longest running culture war conflict in the U.S. today.
The Supreme Court in 1972 found in Roe v Wade gave women the ability to to decide whether to continue a pregnancy as a liberty guaranteed in the Constitution, which protects personal privacy. In Dobbs, the court overruled both Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in returning the issue to individual states that gave them power to regulate any aspect of abortion.
We disagreed with the court on this ruling when it first came down and our worst fears have proven to be true: the rights of women are being rolled back from the same court that expanded those of gun owners. It is an inconsistency that we find maddening.
In our view, abortion is a question of rights—the ability to obtain a medical procedure without governmental interference should be unalienable. We have no arguments with those who say it is taking a life because it is. To believe that those making that choice do so without weighing all of the options is not being fair.
But it is a choice that should be made by a woman and her doctor (and yes, we hope the father as well). And any laws that attempt to interfere with that should be fought.