Reversing Roe Deletes Rights It Took a Century to Achieve

A record-high 69 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll released Wednesday said that abortion should be legal throughout the first trimester of pregnancy.

Support for abortion access in the second and third trimester of pregnancy also reached an all-time high, according to the survey, despite remaining significantly lower than support for the procedure during the first trimester.

While 37 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal in the second trimester, 22 percent said it should be legal in the third trimester, pollsters found.

A slight majority — 52 percent — said they identify as pro-choice, compared to 44 percent who said they identify as pro-life. Another 52 percent also said they view abortion as morally acceptable, while 41 percent said they view it as morally wrong.

Abortion is recognized as a matter of health care to be decided by women and their doctors.

More than half of Americans strongly oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to end constitutional abortion protections, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released in May, 2023

Forbidding abortion undermines the financial security of women. The Economic Policy Institute has found that women denied an abortion have a higher chance of living in poverty, a lower possibility of full-time employment, and an increase in unpaid debt and financial distress.

Middle-class families can expect to spend more than $230,000 on food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through the age of 17, according to data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the end of Roe v. Wade represents a “major loss of rights” for women, a Washington Post-Schar School poll finds. A large and bipartisan majority of Americans, about 8 in 10 overall, say states that ban abortion should not be allowed to outlaw people from traveling elsewhere to access the procedure — an idea gaining steam among some antiabortion groups and Republican lawmakers. Those opposed include 64 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of independents .and 89 percent of Democrats.

Another indication of how a large segment of the American population is that pro-abortion-rights posts get more views than antiabortion videos on TikTok.

About 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime. It’s not surprising that forty percent of Americans list abortion as one of the most important issues in the country, according to a Marquette Law School Poll.  U.S. Catholics are majority pro-choice according to many polls!

Few Americans hold absolutist views on abortion: Only about 1 in 5 say it should be legal in all cases, and fewer than 1 in 10 say it should be illegal without exception, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

A USA Today-Suffolk poll found that 31 percent of American voters said a state banning abortion would make the state less desirable to live in; 5 percent said it would be more desirable. 6 in 10 voters said a state abortion ban would not affect their thinking on a state’s desirability as a place to live.

Overwhelmingly, Americans support people’s right to cross state lines for an abortion, polls are finding.. One showed 77 percent of Americans and even 64 percent of Republicans oppose laws that would ban residents from traveling to another state for an abortion. Another showed even more resistance to such laws: 78 percent overall, and 73 percent among Republicans.

Throwback Republicans

Republicans were not always anti-choice. California Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law the nation’s most permissive abortion regulation in 1967, six years before the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision.  Reagan’s 1980 running mate, former Texas Congressman George HW Bush, had supported Planned Parenthood — including abortion rights — all the way back to the 1960s.

Then Reagan discovered a growing backlash to Roe v Wade and led the Republicans to victory, capitalizing on general Republican mistrust of the Supreme Court dating back to the 1954 Brown v Board decision desegregating public schools.  This locked Republican candidates into an anti-choice position, appeasing the prejudices of angry Americans.

Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for the Senate in Arizona, wants a national abortion ban, women to stay home from work, and a federal law that says life begins at conception.

The Maga Republicans’ zeal to pass stringent forced-birth laws and their pining for a national abortion ban — as the party’s candidates scramble to erase evidence of their antiabortion views from their campaign websites — reveal how little they think of women.

Women are supposed to forget that Republican candidates have been at the forefront of the effort to deny them personal agency and to intrude on their most intimate healthcare decisions. They’re supposed to forget which party has consigned pregnant people to physical and mental suffering.

Sending America Back 70 Years

By reversing Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court takes America back 70 years. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra insists that the country “can no longer trust” the Supreme Court. America is moving toward an abortion regime that brutalizes and sometimes kills pregnant women while ignoring the most promising opportunities to prevent abortions.

The reversal of Roe produced cognitive dissonance in a generation that grew up when abortion was legal. It was a shock to our collective intelligence when this was released, and it likely accounts for some of the divisiveness and disaffection in today’s population.

Alioto’s opinion is dangerously wrong on its face and when extended, could end many of the rights we take for granted. Alioto asserts, “For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens.” To put this another way, abortion was not illegal in some states until the 1800s.

To reach his conclusion, Alioto reached back to English common law, relying on Sir Matthew Hale, an influential 17th Century jurist who is best remembered for his belief that women could be witches, assumed women were liars, and thought husbands owned their wives’ bodies. He permitted the execution of two women accused as witches. Even then, Alioto misconstrues Hale, who wrote abortion was a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” Note Hale used the conditional precedent of “if.” Quickening is the moment when a pregnant woman first detects fetal movement, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy.
Except for misogynists, what sense is there in giving credence to a jurist whose views of women are as dated as lobotomies? By roughly a margin of 2-to-1, Americans want women to have the right to bring or not bring a child into the world. It’s not surprising that Roe v. Wade was decided with a 7-2 majority.

The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people.” The plain meaning of this is that a right, such as the right to marry, does not need to be enumerated to be recognized.

The Roe decision was in line with earlier decisions of the Court. For decades before Roe, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Amendment granted rights such as the right to marry, the right to procreate, the right to use contraception, the right to control the upbringing of children, and the right of every person to choose “whether to bear or beget a child.”
So a fair question is the U.S. Constitution a living document? A living constitution is one that evolves, and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, in 20 years from now, the rate of change will be 4x what it is today.

Common sense tells us there is no realistic alternative to a living constitution in a rapidly changing world.  Does it make sense for the technologies of everyday life to change but our personal liberties will shrink? Will Alioto’s decision pave the way to abrogating other rights that are not explicitly stated, as Clarence Thomas stated, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

  • The right to marry
  • The right to have children
  • The right to travel
  •  The right to a fair trial
  •  The right to a jury of your peers
  • The right to have judicial review
  • The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone, to the care of your body, and, the right not to have your health information made public.
  • The right to health care has gained the support of 70.1% of the American public. COVID-19 and the probability of other pandemics to come have made explicit the need for health care.
  • Right to contraceptives
  • LGBTQ rights

An indication of this throwback court’s limited concept of our rights is contained in the words of Justice Kavanaugh, “For example, may a state bar a resident of that state from traveling to another state to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.”

The Supreme Court as now constituted does not reflect the values of most Americans. In another blog, I propose that Justice Thomas be forced to resign. This can be the beginning of changing the direction of the Supreme Court.

13 GOP AGs want a ‘fugitive slave act’ to track their states’ abortion and trans felons.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has plans to add $57 million to his proposed state budget in preparation for a possible influx of out-of-state patients who are seeking abortions (Axios). Pro-choice states, including New York, are budgeting accordingly.

The draft ruling published by Politico in May would give individual states authority over abortion access. According to the abortion rights advocacy group Guttmacher Institute:

Abortion is now banned (or close to it) in 15 states, according to a Washington Post abortion tracker.

In the United States, 58 percent of women of reproductive age live in states taking away abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute (The Guardian).

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. In total, about 700 women die every year of pregnancy-related complications in the U.S., and about 3 in 5 of those deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A University of Colorado study found there will be abortion a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women, simply because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion. Back alley” abortions will be the last resource for women with no access to safe and legal services, and the horrific consequences of such abortions will become a major cause of death and severe health complications for some of the most vulnerable women in this country.

All across the nation, people are voicing their anxieties about a right that for decades has been taken for granted.  In cities across the country, thousands of Americans have turned out to rally for abortion rights in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin,  Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, St. Peterburg, Florida, and 200 communities across the country.

Men have a stake in Roe vs. Wade.  Abortion is usually a joint decision between a man and a woman. With earning a living an ever-present challenge, one in five men have been involved in an abortion, as men have been involved in an abortion, one study finds.

The Washington Post has reported that Republicans plan to pass a national ban on abortion if they win back control of Congress. This would include even the blue states where abortion rights remain legal and protected. And if the Supreme Court gets away with overturning Roe v. Wade, it means the odds are they would let Congressional Republicans get away with banning abortion nationwide. America is out-of-step with reproductive rights being recognized by more nations.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said he will oppose a Democratic bill to guarantee abortion access nationwide, indicating that it was too broad to get his vote. Manchin proves himself once more to be a  demi-Democrat.

Meanwhile, opponents of abortion are already using methods like license plate tracking, body cam recordings, and Wi-Fi networks designed to find people so they can direct them to anti-abortion arguments and if states to criminalize abortion, this data could be used by anti-abortion activists to try to prosecute people seeking abortions.

As the dissenting judges said, reversing Roe vs. Waderemoves a right nearly 50 years old and is at odds with polls that show consistent public support for Roe.

But more, the dissenting justices said, the opinion “breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law … It places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the Court’s legitimacy.”

All 13 states that have GOP-controlled legislatures — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming — have “trigger laws” that functionally banned abortion as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated it as a right.

 

Alabama

The 2019 Human Life Protection Act, which had been held by an injunction, was allowed to go into effect Friday. It makes it unlawful “for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion” unless “an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

Alaska

The right to an abortion is protected by state law and constitution. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said, though, the overturning of Roe v. Wade will cause “renewed conversation” on the issue of abortion rights in the state.

Arizona

A pre-Roe v. Wade law bans abortions except when the mother’s life is endangered. Gov. Doug Ducey in April signed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that will go into effect.

Arkansas

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed the state’s trigger law into effect Friday, banning abortion in the state following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act makes performing or attempting to perform an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The only exception is if the mother’s life is in danger.

California

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Colorado

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Connecticut

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Delaware

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Florida

A law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will go into effect July 1.

Georgia

A law prohibiting abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy was signed in 2019 but not in effect following legal challenges.

Hawaii

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Idaho

A trigger law making abortion illegal goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned.

Illinois

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Indiana

Indiana became the first state after Roe was reversed to ban abortion.

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court in June reversed an earlier court ruling that the state constitution guaranteed the right to abortion.

Kansas

The right to abortion is protected by state law. Voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to change the state constitution to say there is no right to abortion.

Kentucky

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Friday that abortion is now banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect. Under the law, anybody who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.

Louisiana

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Friday abortion is banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Earlier this week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that strengthened the 2006 trigger law that went into effect Friday. The new law increases the penalties abortion providers face: prison terms range from one to 10 years and $10,000 to $100,000 in fines.

The state constitution also bars the right to abortion, and lawmakers recently approved a bill to ban abortion after “fertilization and implantation.”

Maine

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Maryland

The right to abortion is protected by state law.

Massachusetts

The right to abortion is protected by state law. On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order to “further preserve” abortion rights in Massachusetts and protect “reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents.”

Michigan

pre-Roe v. Wade law bans abortions, but a judge ruled in May the state government cannot enforce the law as a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed against the state plays out. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is also working to protect the right in the state.

A Michigan judge Friday blocked county prosecutors from enforcing a 91-year-old law banning abortion in the state while courts consider a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. The ruling means abortion will remain legal in Michigan for the foreseeable future. The 1931 law bans abortion for all women, and doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest.  and calls for the prosecution of reproductive care providers.

The ruling comes after the state Court of Appeals earlier this month cleared a path for county prosecutors to enforce the 1931 law by ruling they were not covered by a May order.

“It is clear to the Court that only one group is harmed by this statute- women, and people capable of carrying children,” Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham said during his ruling.

The 1931 abortion ban doesn’t pass constitutional muster, he said.

Minnesota

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

Mississippi

A trigger law banning nearly all abortions would go into effect immediately after Roe is overturned. In addition to its 15-week abortion ban at the center of the Supreme Court case, Mississippi has a 6-week abortion ban.

Missouri

Missouri ended the right to abortion following the Supreme Court decision. On Friday, Gov. Mike Parsons tweeted that he signed a proclamation activating the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, ending elective abortions in the state.

Montana

The right to an abortion is currently protected under the state constitution.

Nebraska

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he will push for the state legislature to pass a total abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Nevada

The right to an abortion is protected under the Nevada Revised Statutes, the codified laws of the state.   However, Montana voters will vote to dramatically reverse women’s rights at the ballot box in November when they vote on an anti-abortion ballot measure. That measure, known as LR-131, would require “health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant” or face up to 20 years in prison.

New Hampshire

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

New Jersey

The right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

New Mexico

The right to an abortion is neither protected nor barred in the state constitution.

New York

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

North Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

North Dakota

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe is overturned, the Legislative Council must approve a recommendation from the state’s attorney general that the ban on abortion is constitutional.

Ohio

A 6-week ban on abortion that had been previously blocked was allowed to go into effect Friday.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced Friday the state trigger law banning abortions went into effect after the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. Prior to the ruling, Oklahoma had a near-total ban on abortion.

Oregon

The right to have an abortion is protected in the state constitution.

Pennsylvania

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Rhode Island

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

South Carolina

The right to an abortion is not protected by state law.

South Dakota

A trigger law was in place to make abortion illegal. After Roe was overturned, it went into effect immediately without further action required.

The law makes all abortions illegal “unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female.”

Tennessee

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state constitution bars protection of the right.

Texas

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal that goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned with no further action required. The state already has a 6-week ban in effect.

Utah

Most abortions are now illegal in Utah after the trigger law ban was put into effect. The law does allow for exceptions for rape, incest, averting maternal death or impairment, and lethal fetal deformity.

Vermont

The right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Virginia

The right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

Washington

Under the Code of Washington, individuals are not allowed to interfere with a pregnant person’s right have an abortion.

West Virginia

A state constitutional amendment bars the protection of the right to an abortion. Abortion is still legal in West Virginia, but there is an 1882 law on the books that makes performing abortions a felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear if it will go into effect follow Roe’s overturn. Gov. Jim Justice said Friday he is meeting with the Legislature and his legal team to decide if the state’s abortion laws need to be updated.

Despite abortion still being legal in the state, the only clinic said in a statement on Facebook it will not be performing the procedure “until further notice.”

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a pre-Roe law dating back to 1849 making an abortion a felony that could go back into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Wyoming

A trigger law is in place to make abortion illegal. It would require certification by the governor, advised by the Attorney General within 30 days of the Supreme Court ruling.

The consequences of reversing Roe are becoming evident.

A Florida court ruled that a 16-year-old wasn’t ‘sufficiently mature’ enough to have an abortion.

In Texas, a woman says she was denied an abortion for a medical emergency.

The Kentucky Supreme Court declined to block the state’s near-total abortion ban while it reviews legal challenges to the law.

The President laid out the fastest and best way to return women to their rights:

“Let me be clear. While I wish it had not come to this, this is the fastest route available,” Biden said. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe, which I will sign immediately upon its passage on my desk.”

A vivid illustration of the grief that is being caused by the Roe reversal is a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was raped and traveled to Indiana for an abortion. The girl’s doctor was afraid she was too far into her pregnancy to get an abortion, even though she was only six weeks and three days along — meaning she had probably just learned that she was pregnant. This was due to an Ohio law banning abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected (sometimes as early as six weeks). This was reported by, the Indianapolis Star.

This case is showing how dangerous the Court’s ruling is becoming. The Republican Attorney General says he is looking into the licensure of the physician who provided abortion services to the 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.  Rokita, the Attorney General, appeared on Fox News and called the doctor “an abortion activist acting as a doctor.” He accused her of having a history of failing to report abortions and that an investigation into the physician and her license is underway.

Another casualty of Roe is sex education coincides with abortion restrictions and a movement to stop educators from discussing gender and sexual orientation.

Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested  outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision  to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Thirty-five people were arrested for crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a D.C. code often cited when arresting protesters during peaceful, planned, and coordinated actions of civil disobedience such as the demonstration on Tuesday. Those arrested were ticketed and released on-site, as is standard practice during events such as this, said Capitol Police spokesman Tim Barber.

Among those arrested were members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and including Assistant House Speaker Katherine M. Clark (Mass.) and Reps. Bush, Omar, Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), according to their offices.

Can women be prosecuted for crossing state lines to get an abortion?
As a general rule, this should not happen. Even Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that it would be a step too far to ban women from traveling across state lines to seek care. The Constitution protects interstate commerce, and that means it also protects interstate travel, he wrote, calling it “not especially difficult as a constitutional matter.”
In the year following the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, the abortion landscape in the United States became more fractured than ever.

 

Abortions increased nationwide, according to a new report from #WeCount, a research project led by the Society of Family Planning, the average monthly change in the 12 months post-Dobbs compared to the two months pre-Dobbs adds up to about 2,200 more abortions over the course of a year.

 

But the trends diverged sharply based on state policy, with abortions all but stopped in states with bans and significant increases in many states where abortion remained legal.

 

There were about 115,000 fewer abortions in the 17 states with total or six-week bans in effect – plummeting 98% in banned states and dropping 40% in those with 6-week gestational limits, according to the new report. About a third of the overall decline can be attributed to Texas.

 

The remaining 33 states where abortion remained legal, along with the District of Columbia, recorded nearly 117,000 more abortions – a 14% increase year-over-year.

 

“This is a sign of increasing inequality of access,” said Caitlin Myers, a  professor of economics at Middlebury College. Her research has focused on abortion trends, but she was not involved in the new analysis.

“Whether somebody who wants to access abortion can actually do so depends more than ever on where they live,” she said.

Much of the increase in states where abortion remains legal were among patients who traveled from states with bans or restrictions, experts say. The new report doesn’t capture how widespread the need to travel for an abortion has become, but local data suggests a clear trend.

Earlier research has shown that travel is a significant barrier. And even if additional resources help reduce the burden on patients, it shouldn’t be the gauge of success, experts say.

“It’s really not a public health triumph that people have to mobilize the financial and social resources to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles away from their home, to obtain basic health care,” said Dr. Alison Norris, co-chair of #WeCount and association professor at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. “That’s really a public health crisis.”

17 members of Congress were arrested and subsequently released at an abortion rights protest outside the Supreme Court on July 19. (Video: The Washington Post)

In the weeks following the Supreme Court’s decision, confusion surrounding new abortion-related laws has led to patients being denied much-needed maternal health care.

Confusion post-Roe spurs delays, denials for some lifesaving pregnancy care

At the time of the decision to overturn Roe, 13 states had “trigger bans,” designed to take effect to prohibit abortion within 30 days of the ruling. At least eight states banned the procedure the day the ruling was released.

Now, common complications, including incomplete miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, have now been scrutinized, delayed, and even denied, according to the accounts of doctors in multiple states where new laws have gone into effect.

The supporters of reversing Roe claim they want to protect life. Following the decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the once constitutionally protected right to an abortion, young women and others across the country have increasingly requested sterilization, according to obstetrician-gynecologists who have seen upticks in Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida.

Because of the overturning of Roe, is causing women to undergo major surgery and take on the complications and risks that come with it just so they don’t have to worry about carrying an unwanted pregnancy.

Access to abortion meant women could pursue a child-free life if they chose. But lawmakers appear determined to take away their choices.

Another foreseeable consequence of reversal is that the number of men seeking vasectomies is on the rise.  People’s needs and choices are not stopped by a regressive court decision.

Signs of resistance are becoming commonplace. Seventeen members of Congress — including Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) — were among dozens of abortion rights protesters arrested Tuesday outside the Supreme Court in a rally demanding immediate action to protect abortion following the court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Also at risk is the right to love whomever a person chooses. By 2121  half of Americans supported marriage equality, according to Gallup’s data, which show support growing by an average of 1% to 2% per year since the mid-1990s. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 issued its marriage equality decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, support had grown to about 60%.

Since then, same-sex marriages have become routine. The Census Bureau last year estimated that 980,000 same-sex households exist in the U.S., roughly 1.5% of all households in the country, of whom about 58% were headed by married couples. The share of the public that supports equal marriage rights now surpasses 70%.

Reaction to the Roe’s fate has been convincing and swift. Kansas, a red state, resoundingly rejected an amendment that would have led to abortion bans. Democratic voters especially turned out in higher numbers, and the ballot measure was rejected by a huge margin.  Corporations are recognizing their responsibility to their employees. Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, expands abortion coverage for staff.

The results prompted President Biden to call again for Congress to codify abortion protections into federal law, and on Wednesday he signed an executive order to help patients travel across state lines for abortion care.

Changing the Constitution is one of the most difficult processes in all of governing. There are a couple of different ways to do it. One of the most common requires a two-thirds vote in Congress and then three-fourths of states (38 states) to ratify it.

Take the Equal Rights Amendment: Congress passed it in 1972 and sent it to the states for ratification. But only 35 states ratified it before the deadline passed (three-fourths have now ratified, but a few did so after the deadline), so it still hasn’t been added. So it’s highly unlikely that a more controversial amendment, such as one enshrining the right to abortion or banning assault weapons, would make it through such a rigorous process, especially at a time when states are so divided on these policies.

With the  Supreme Court so clearly on the wrong side of history and one of the justices so clearly corrupted, it may be easier to bring pressure on some judges to resign, particularly Justice Thomas.

22 states have laws or constitutional amendments on the books now poised to severely limit access to abortion or ban it outright. Even before the Supreme Court issued its decision, states with more restrictive abortion laws had higher maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Now, experts are predicting at least a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths across the country.

1 in 3 American women has already lost abortion access. More restrictive laws are coming.

 Two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, about 20.9 million women have lost access to nearly all elective abortions in their home states, and a slate of strict new trigger laws expected to take effect in the coming days will shut out even more.

Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho all have existing restrictions on abortion, but the laws slated to begin Thursday will either outlaw the procedure entirely or heighten penalties for doctors who perform an abortion, contributing to a seismic shift in who can access abortion in their home states.

At least 11 other states have banned most abortions, prohibiting the procedure with narrow exceptions from the time of conception or after fetal cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy, with legislation known as “heartbeat” laws. Five more states have similar bans temporarily blocked by the courts. If those injunctions are lifted, abortion could soon be inaccessible for millions more — in total, 36 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 would be largely unable to obtain an elective abortion in the state where they live.

The rapid pace of change has shocked even the closest observers.

“I just thought there would be a little more time to help providers and patients cope with these changes,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks abortion legislation in the states for the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research center that supports abortion rights. “It was very clear that that sort of grace period was not going to be provided.”

Advocates and doctors in favor of abortion rights fear that the newest trigger laws — which in Texas will carry a potential life sentence for doctors who perform an abortion — will have a chilling effect on helping people who either need an abortion because they are facing life-threatening complications or are trying to travel and get one elsewhere. The stiffer laws come as patients and providers navigate a confusing tangle of policies amid ongoing legal challenges that at times have made abortion accessible one day and completely illegal the next. Even more changes are on the horizon as lawmakers in South Carolina and West Virginia consider new bills during special legislative sessions.

Patients in states such as Tennessee have rushed in recent days to try to make last-minute appointments before they lose access to abortion completely — some only to be turned away, ineligible for an abortion because of the state’s “heartbeat” law.

Kaydria, a 28-year-old from Jackson, Miss., started researching the changing abortion laws as soon as she found out she was pregnant in mid-August. With abortion already banned in her home state, she decided to drive three hours to Memphis.

She knew she’d have to hurry: On Aug. 25, all elective abortions would be banned there, too.

“I needed to go ahead and take care of it,” said Kaydria, who spoke on the condition that only her first name be used to protect her privacy. “I knew I didn’t have time.”

Roughly 14 states have bans outlawing most abortions, with varying exemptions and penalties for doctors. In all, nearly 21 million — about 1 in 3 girls and women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 — have lost access to the procedure, according to U.S. census data. The restrictions apply to both medication and surgical abortions.

The states that bar abortion from conception tend to be located in the South and the Midwest, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Wisconsin has conflicting laws that leave the legality of abortion uncertain, but clinics stopped providing abortions in the state after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, effectively ending abortion within its borders. Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee have bans that begin when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur before many people realize they are pregnant.

The Austin City Council passed a resolution that seeks to decriminalize abortion care. The move was especially urgent given that Texans, who have already been living under a draconian abortion law for nearly a year, face a full “trigger” ban with harsh criminal penalties and an attorney general eager to prosecute. The proposal is now spreading across Texas—and beyond.

A shimmer of light in these dark times, municipalities like Austin are creatively harnessing their local power and uplifting their progressive values to fight back against onerous state abortion laws and, importantly, proving that we can find pockets of hope, determination, and optimism in our communities amid what often feels like perpetual doom in life after Roe.

Religion claiming restrictions on the legitimacy of abortion imposes on most people’s sense of what is right or wrong.

Marjorie Taylor Green introduced a bill to make gender-affirming care for transgender youth a felony. Demonstrating where the Republicans really stand, Senator Lindsay Graham on Tuesday, August 23 introduced a bill that would ban abortions nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Can the Republicans be more tone-deaf? Graham, the quintessential hypocrite previously said abortions should be left to the states.

America is the only industrialized country without some form of universal health care – it’s the poor who suffer the most. Survey data shows that nearly 50% of women who seek abortions live under the poverty line. What pregnant women deserve is free abortion on demand, under any circumstance.

How telling it is that having gotten Roe reversed, Republicans, are not talking about increasing the life chances of children being born only because of Roe’s reversal.  It’s time the United States join other developed countries in providing universal health care. Doing so would raise the life chances of Americans.

In Texas, U.S. District Judge James Hendrix halted emergency abortion guidance that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued last month’s administration that requires doctors to provide abortions in emergency medical situations even if doing so would run afoul of state law.

The government urged the court to find that a 1986 federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) superseded some restrictive state abortion laws passed in the wake of the demise of Roe vs. Wade.

The EMTALA law requires a hospital to provide stabilizing care to any patient that presents with an emergency medical condition.  The Biden Administration maintains that abortion qualifies as stabilizing care under the law.

A federal judge in Utah August 24 temporarily blocked Idaho’s abortion ban from taking effect during medical emergencies, ruling that it conflicts with federal law. This was the first court win in the federal effort to assure women needing medical attention can get it regardless of state law.

The National Association of Evangelicals called climate action a Christian responsibility in a 50-page report in August 2021, a call to action for a demographic that is less likely than the general population to consider climate change a threat.

The NAE’s report, entitled “Loving the Least of These,” addresses the scientific evidence for the reality of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions in driving it, as well as examining and debunking common arguments against the objectivity of climatologists.

The report goes on to address the issue from a theological and personal perspective, outlining biblical arguments for environmental stewardship.

“The earth brings glory to God, and God continues to care for and sustain the natural processes of the world. The psalmist says: ‘Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul’ (Psalm 103:22),” it reads. “Because God’s glory is revealed in creation, we should be intentional about caring for his artistry.”

The report also cites Matthew: 22’s edict to “Love your neighbor as yourself” in the context of the human suffering caused by climate change and environmental disasters, and outlines personal experiences and examples of the human toll of those ongoing disasters.

The organization, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, has acknowledged the existence of climate change.

It’s ironic that suffragettes celebrated a major victory 102 years ago today: A proclamation was signed that added the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving some 26 million women voting rights for the first time.

When the Founding Fathers were drafting the earliest laws, Abigail Adams encouraged her husband, then-Vice President John Adams, to “remember the ladies” — yet the resulting Constitution omitted the word “women.” Seneca Falls, New York, hosted the inaugural women’s rights convention in 1848.

Three decades later, a women’s suffrage amendment was introduced in Congress, and more than 40 more years later a suffrage bill finally passed in the House and Senate. Afterward, 36 states needed to ratify the amendment for constitutional inclusion. An indecisive 24-year-old, Representative Harry T. Burns, cast the deciding vote, ultimately favoring ratification at the behest of his mother giving women the right to vote.

The laws of some states place our country outside the pale of what is internationally acceptable. If the U.S. does not change course on women’s rights, the U.S. will be the subject of international scorn and sanctions.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new rule making the agency an abortion provider. The VA has already started providing abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries in the limited circumstances set out in the rule, which took effect when it was published on Sept. 9.

  • The VA’s rule would allow abortions for those who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or if a pregnancy endangered the “life and health” of the person seeking an abortion.
  • There are still questions about how “health” will be interpreted. VA officials have said it will be up to veterans and doctors to determine whether health is endangered on a case-by-case basis.

Republicans have questioned the legality of the rule and promised to give the department a tough time if the GOP regains control of Congress in the fall.

It has now been 100 days since the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, triggering states across the country to enact restrictive abortion laws. Since the high court’s June decision, dozens of clinics across 15 states have been forced to stop offering abortions.

People are still getting abortions. With its Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June, the Supreme Court overturned the half-century-old Roe v. Wade and effectively made abortion illegal in nearly half of US states. New data from the Society of Family Planning shows that the number of clinician-provided abortions in those states has plummeted. (It’s important to remember that data wouldn’t include self-managed abortions, where women take abortion pills at home.)

What’s perhaps more interesting is the notable jumps in abortion in states surrounding those where abortion is illegal, suggesting that women are traveling to get medical care. In Kansas, the number of abortions rose 36 percent from April to August; abortion became illegal in neighboring Oklahoma during the same time. North Carolina, which is surrounded by the less abortion-friendly South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, saw a 37 percent jump.

Those jumps show up in national numbers. Despite declining by 100 percent in a number of states, the number of recorded abortions in the US only declined a modest 6 percent nationwide, from 85,020 in April to 79,620 abortions in August 2022. Of course, traveling to another state can be prohibitively expensive for many, meaning that poorer people will have a harder time terminating pregnancies in states with strict abortion laws.

Now men can have birth control. The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And The Pill went on the market for women in the 1960s. And the male contraception pill? Researchers would joke that it was “a couple of years away for 50 years.”

But now, new forms of birth control for men finally seem within reach. Not just male hormonal pills but gels and implants. Many of these developing products are more convenient and foolproof than condoms or easily reversed than vasectomies.
Is this a new “Woke” issue for the Right?

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, which had paused FDA approval for the abortion pill mifepristone. That’s a great victory for abortion rights advocates, right? Nope! As part of its decision, the appeals court also rolled back major FDA changes which made mifepristone easier to obtain —  blocking the drug from being sent by mail, forcing patients to go to doctors for their prescriptions, and making them undergo multiple in-person examinations while taking the medication. Also, it can now only be administered 49 days into a pregnancy, down from the 70 days set by the FDA.

As a lawyer for a conservative legal group, Matthew Kacsmaryk, in early 2017, submitted an article to a Texas law review criticizing Obama-era protections for transgender people and those seeking abortions.

The Obama administration, the draft article argued, had discounted religious physicians who “cannot use their scalpels to make female what God created male” and “cannot use their pens to prescribe or dispense abortifacient drugs designed to kill unborn children.”

But a few months after the piece arrived, an editor at the law journal who had been working with Kacsmaryk received an unusual email: Citing “reasons I may discuss at a later date,” Kacsmaryk, who had originally been listed as the article’s sole author, said he would be removing his name and replacing it with those of two colleagues at his legal group, First Liberty Institute, according to emails and early drafts obtained by The Washington Post.

Now, six years later, as Kacsmaryk sits as a judge in Amarillo, Tex., his strong ideological views have grabbed the country’s attention after he ruled this month that sought to block government approval of a key drug used in more than half of all abortions in the country — an opinion that invoked antiabortion-movement rhetoric and which some medical experts have said relied on debunked claims that exaggerate potential harms of the drug.

Legal abortions probably increased in the United States in the first half of the year compared with 2020, an analysis of new estimates shows, as states with fewer abortion restrictions welcomed patients traveling from those with bans and access to abortion pills through telemedicine grew. New research from the Guttmacher Institute gives the latest picture of legal abortions since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year changed access to abortion nationwide and allowed more than a dozen states to prohibit or limit the procedure.

There are no estimates yet of women who were turned away from abortions or those who could not get them. The increases in most states may also hide the number of abortions stopped by the bans. “Abortions had started rising before Dobbs, and they may have risen even faster than observed if not for the bans,” Dr. Myers said. The Guttmacher Institute’s report is based on a survey of physical abortion clinics and telehealth and virtual providers. The institute, which supports abortion rights, does not contact all clinics in each state but uses a sample to estimate the number of abortions.

The report does not include abortions obtained outside of the formal health care system, such as pills mailed into states with bans from other countries or states where abortion is legal. Other data suggests that thousands of people, especially those living in states with bans, have ordered abortion pills online from abroad. Large states like California, Florida, Illinois, and New York had the most abortions. Because the researchers used a statistical model, they reported a range of uncertainty in their counts, and there was more uncertainty in states with more abortion providers. Data was not collected from the 14 states with abortion bans in effect in the first part of the year.

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Is the U.S. Constitution a living document? Are American rights going to be highjacked by a minority of Americans?

Alioto’s draft opinion is dangerously wrong on its face, and which when extended could end many of the rights we take for granted. Alioto asserts “For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitu­tion, each State was permitted to address this issue in ac­cordance with the views of its citizens.” To put this another way, abortion was not illegal before  “quickening” in most states until the 1800’s.

To reach his conclusion, Alioto reached back to English common law, relying on Sir Matthew Hale, an influential 17th Century jurist who is best remembered for his belief that women could be witches, assumed women were liars, and thought husbands owned their wives’ bodies. He permitted the execution of two women accused as witches. Even then, Alioto misconstrues Hale, who wrote abortion was a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” Note Hale used the conditional precedent of “if.” Quickening is the moment when pregnant woman first detects fetal movement, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy.

Except for misogynists, what sense is there in giving credence to a jurist whose views of women are as dated as lobotomies? By roughly a margin of 2-to-1, Americans want women to have the right to bring or not bring a child into the world. It’s not surprising that Roe v. Wade was decided with a 7-2 majority.

The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people.” The plain meaning of this is that because a right, such as the right to marry, does not need to be enumerated to be recognized.

The Roe decision was in line with earlier decisions of the Court. For decades before Roe, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Amendment granted rights such as the right to marry, the right to procreate, the right to use contraception, the right to control the upbringing of children, and the right of every person to choose “whether to bear or beget a child.”

So a fair question is the U.S. Constitution a living document? A living constitution is one that evolves, and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended. It’s been calculated that the rate of change accelerates every decade. So, in 20 years from now, the rate of change will be 4x what it is today. Common sense tells us there is no realistic alternative to a living constitution in a rapidly changing world.

Does it make sense for the technologies of everyday life change but our personal liberties will shrink? Will Alioto’s decision pave the way to abrogating other rights that are not explicitly stated:

  • The right to marry
  • The right to have children
  • The right to travel
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right to a jury of your peers
  • The right to have judicial review
  • The right to privacy, which includes the right to be left alone, to the care of your body, and the right not to have your health information made public.
  • The right to health care has gained the support of 70.1% of the American public: Covid-D and the probability of other pandemics to have made explicit the need for health care.

The rules of how the Court operates around decisions in which they invoke the Constitution to change or strike down laws need to be changed. Instead of operating along partisan majority lines, I’m suggesting they must have an absolute consensus — a unanimous decision — on any decisions involving the US Constitution.
The Supreme Courts of Belgium, France, and Italy work this way by law, and those of Germany and Spain do so by tradition. It has served those nations well, stripping politics and partisanship out of their judicial systems.

The Supreme Courts of Belgium, France, and Italy work this way by law, and those of Germany and Spain do so by tradition. It has served those nations well, stripping politics and partisanship out of their judicial systems.

Depreciating Voting Rights

After Federal courts in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio declared gerrymandered election maps illegal, the Supreme Court turned around and said, “Suck it up, disenfranchised voters! You’re gonna have to use those maps.”

Are we really to believe this is a blind application of justice?

Voting maps get redrawn every ten years when fresh census data is available. Revisions are a reflection of the new population data. Typically, that data becomes available at the end of a collection year.

In 2020, thanks to the pandemic, the new data was not available until April 2021.

Despite this delay, states got busy revising their electoral boundaries. This process is called redistricting, and it’s done so that voters are electing representatives who can and will speak for their interests.

Each state has its own guidelines to ensure maps are filed such that candidates can meet filing deadlines and know where to campaign.

When this year’s revised maps were filed, the states above were each in a slightly different situation in their election cycle or their particular set of rules for filing new maps.

Nonetheless, challenges began at government-lightning speed. In Alabama, the case was brought in November. By January the court — a three-judge panel — rejected the new mapThey ruled that the new maps were illegal because the new lines cut off political power for Black and Democratic voters.

The state was ordered to redraw its congressional map immediately.

By February, the Supreme Court stepped in, barring Alabama from re-drawing the map for their November election. After blather about candidates and filing deadlines, Brett Kavanaugh wrote:

“When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled.”

Sound Merrick Garland familiar? Garland, you may recall, was nominated to the Supreme Court by Barrack Obama in March. The senate, led by Mitch McConnell, said it was too close to the November election to make any changes.

Of course, none of these assholes felt the need to step in and stop Amy Coney “What Are Those Constitutional Rights Again?” Barrett from being installed in October of 2020?

Think that Supreme Court appointments and general elections are too dissimilar to compare? If you say so, but, you can’t deny it shows a wildly incriminating pattern. Or, in the parlance of the Court, precedence.

But… why?

This is how the maps are redrawn at every damn census. If this cycle is insufficient, there is no process for stopping gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering.

In theory, the evolution from census to revised election map sounds nice and even-handed. In practice, it’s problematic.

State legislatures are responsible for redrawing the maps. Not surprisingly, they favor their own. Using cracking (splitting voters apart) and packing (cramming unlike voters together) techniques, they set about creating districts that will skew elections in their favor.

Despite the fact that there is no world in which the first month of an election year is insufficient time to right electoral injustice, the Supreme Court began laying this groundwork after the last census came out.

Starting with Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court has steadily weakened the Voting Rights Act, gutting laws meant to ensure the one person/one vote idea.

And now we see the result. The current redis­trict­ing cycle is subject to the Court’s 2019 ruling that gerry­man­der­ing for party advant­age cannot be chal­lenged in federal court.

That’s right. States aren’t allowed to enforce or monitor their own rules.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.”

According to the New York Times, the new maps are likely to hand Republicans five to seven House seats they otherwise would not have won. Altogether, these states comprise ten percent of the vote.

The thing about gerrymandering, it cuts both ways. Maybe this is why it goes unchecked. But regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, the voters are the ones who lose.

The reason the government isn’t representing us? Because we aren’t electing the local pols who impact the chain. It’s a bottom-feeding system. In a presidential election year, about sixty percent of eligible voters turn out. At midterms? It’s more like forty.

The Supreme Court has gone totally rogue — to the point that some of the justices rightfully worry for their safety. Seriously, it feels like America is just a couple more measures away from a mass riot involving pitchforks and gunfights.

Two major blows to humanity came from this: the end of affirmative action in schools (but not the military, hm) and the right to deny service to people based on sexual orientation. People are pissed, and that’s a big understatement.

The Supreme Court as now constituted does not reflect the value of most Americans. In another blog, I propose that Justice Thomas be forced to resign. This can be the beginning of needed change for the Supreme Court.