Anti-Choice Politicians Are Taking Direct Aim at Roe v. Wade

House of Representatives chamber in the Ohio Statehouse

Anti-abortion politicians wasted no time going after Roe v. Wade after the midterm elections. Last week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a ban on abortion starting at six weeks in pregnancy, which would effectively ban almost all abortions given that most people don’t know they are even pregnant at that time. 

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to pass. If it does, the outgoing governor could veto it, but the legislature may have enough votes to override it. And if the legislature doesn’t override the veto, the incoming governor has said he would sign it.

The bill is blatantly unconstitutional. If it passes, we will challenge it, and it will likely be blocked by the lower courts. But make no mistake: This bill is designed to directly challenge the fundamental constitutional right to abortion. As the bill’s author said, “We literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v. Wade. It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.”  

In other words, the bill’s supporters know this bill is unconstitutional, but they passed it anyway in hopes that it will make its way through the courts, eventually arriving at the Supreme Court.

Anti-abortion politicians at the state level are clearly emboldened by the Trump administration’s extreme anti-abortion and anti-woman policies. Just like Ohio, the Trump administration wasted no time to unleash more attacks on reproductive health care access after the midterms. 

The administration recently issued final rules rolling back the contraception coverage benefit of the Affordable Care Act. If those rules are not blocked by the courts, they would authorize nearly all employers to block insurance coverage for birth control because of the employers’ moral or religious beliefs. 

The same day, the Trump administration also proposed a rule that would create burdensome and unnecessary regulations designed to cause insurance companies in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace to stop covering abortion. This could push the procedure out of reach for many of the 1.3 million people who purchase plans through the government marketplaces and possibly more if insurers opt to drop coverage in additional plans. 

These policies build on the Trump administration’s other attacks. For example, the Trump administration adopted a policy of banning abortion for unaccompanied immigrant minors, which has fortunately been blocked by the courts in our #JusticeforJane case.

“We literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v. Wade. It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.”

It’s, therefore, no surprise that Ohio anti-abortion politicians followed in the Trump administration’s footsteps. And Ohio won’t be the only state to do so. Most legislatures come back into session in January, and we expect an onslaught of attacks on access to reproductive health care, on top of all the battles we are currently fighting. Since 2011, states have enacted more than 400 abortion restrictions. There are already more than a dozen challenges to abortion restrictions winding their way up to the Supreme Court. The question now is this: What will the Supreme Court do?

No one can predict the future, but we are deeply concerned that Roe v. Wade and the right to access abortion is in peril given the recent changes in the Supreme Court. And it is not just whether Roe will be overturned — Roe could be eviscerated without being technically reversed. But that would have the same effect for many people. 

For example, a state could pass a law that has no medical justification but could be upheld even if it shutters clinic doors. This is not hypothetical. Right now there are six states that have one abortion clinic standing, and anti-abortion politicians in some of those states are trying to shut them down. For example, in Kentucky, Gov. Matthew Bevin tried to shut down the last clinic by revoking its license for failure to have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. We prevented the clinic’s closure by going to court, and the judge ruled in our favor in September. The governor, however, has appealed. 

Low-income people, people who live in rural areas, and young people will suffer the greatest when clinics are forced to close. Abortion will be pushed out of reach with devastating consequences to their lives, including spending years in poverty or being tethered to abusive partners. It means nothing if the right to abortion exists on paper but people have nowhere to go to get one.

The alarm bells should be ringing. It was heartening to see the Ohio House packed with people protesting the passage of the abortion ban. But the anti-abortion forces are definitely out in full force, including passing ballot measures in Alabama and West Virginia removing protections for abortion at the state level. Those of us who want to see the right to access abortion protected must stand up. We are at a critical moment in history, and now is the time for your voice to be heard.

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Anonymous

This week in the news, a father beat his 7 wk old baby to death. There are people that just shouldn't be parents! Who protected that baby's rights? The pro-life movement, they don't care about that baby. If babies actually had to right to be born, then it follows that they have a right to eat, drink, have shelter, safety, and be loved. The most important thing in a child's life is to be wanted. I remember the day my mom jokingly told me I was an "accident". That none of her children were planned. It changed things, for me. Children don't want to be forced on their parents. They don't want to be the burden that their parents have struggled to carry because they didn't have a choice. Children don't want to grow up being resented. Sure there are a vast number of people that rise to the occasion and become wonderful parents, planned or not. But far too many do not. They neglect their children, abandon them, abuse them, traffick them, even kill them. They put babies in dumpsters, leave them in airport bathrooms, on doorsteps, at hospitals. It's not enough to just be born. If babies have a right to life, then it should be a right to a GOOD life. And the best way to ensure that is for prospective parents to plan and be prepared mentally, physically, and financially.

Anonymous

The worst part is this: If they get their wish and abortion becomes illegal again in all but maybe 10 states (as in pre Roe years), abortion is not going to just vanish. What will go away is LEGAL and SAFE abortion. We will be right back to back alley butchers, motel room procedures performed by an unqualified person in less than sterile conditions. Women have been seeking to terminate pregnancies since they figured out it was possible, and desperate women will do desperate things. In the world of Pre-Roe, women suffered major infections, lost their ability to have children in the future and died from these procedures. If you don't want an abortion don't get one; if you don't want your wife/sister/niece/daughter/granddaughter to have one then that is between you and them. However, it is completely immoral to make it impossible for women to seek the care they need in a clean and safe manner

Anonymous

"Life begins at conception." How many of us have heard that? It's false, of course. In order for that to be true, then neither sperms nor unfertilized eggs could be alive. And that is simply not the case. Ever look at fresh sperm under a microscope? Those little buggers are swimming like crazy! Alive! Eggs too are very much alive already, even before conception.

Anonymous

What this debate comes down to is the question regarding whether a child in the womb is in fact a child and protected by the constitution or if it is nothing but cells and it is therefore not protected. Where is the line draw? From contraception to new born baby, where is the line drawn? What I think is that if I child has been born and survived at the age of your pregnancy, then it is a child and protected under the constitution. Everything else is a grey area. What is interesting about this argument is the constitutionality of it that pro lifers and trying to press on. Some say roe is to dred. Just because it is constitutional doesn’t mean it is right. Roe just appeases and tries to make compromises with out getting to the heart of the issue that is the ethics of it. If we look at roe as it is to dred then it is easier to see that we can’t just look at the constitutionality and precedent, we must eventually look at morality. Therefore the over turning of roe would be to the 13th 14th and 15th amendments. They went against the precedent and focused on the issue. Where do we define a life? When is it viable? Should this ever be compromised for the health of a women? These are the issues people ignore and go right to attach mode about religion, or feminism. Both sides do it and it deminished the argument and it’s validity. America, stop attacking and open your minds. Work together to find the right answer, instead of trying to prove yourself right. The division within political parties is coming to a head and will lead to a great change in our years to come.

Toby48219

Why is Al Qaeda more compassionate than pro-lifers?

The 9/11 hijackers got to die instantly.

Havens2020.com

I'm perplexed why the courts uphold the religious prerogatives and lifestyles of some religions, but persecute my religious belief in not bringing a human being into a life in which it is expected to suffer. The argument of those intent on forcing their religious views down the throats of, and into the uterus of, others, are the same who oppose public care for babies given up by mothers who can not take care of them, and who suffer the abuse and indifference not being wanted or loved. THAT, to me, is torture. To force someone to bring a human being into existence with a high probability of being doomed to suffer, is SINFUL! Anti-abortion is not pro-life, it is a violation of religious freedom. Right to choose based upon religious freedom, as well as the general right to privacy, and respect for quality of life is pro-life. Havens2020.com

Anonymous

I urge the ACLU and other civil liberties groups not to take the bait and make their lawsuits about the right to abortion. Cut the legs out from underneath the Right Wing strategy to bring this issue to the Supreme Court by countering these bills with the blatant gender discrimination that they are.
If any of these "Heartbeat" bills were truly about ending abortion, they would contain provisions to provide contraceptives and safe health care to women. More importantly, they would contain provisions holding men accountable for their role in causing pregnancy; which, so far, none of them appear to contain.
Fight these bills on the basis of gender discrimination, and do not allow their authors the chance to use women's bodies to score political victories.

Anonymous

rape/incest are less than 1.5% of all abortions.... if a mother and a baby were in a car crash, it would be recognized as a double homicide. Please give these babies a voice and pass the bill!!!

tommy

This article failed to explain why abortion is a constitutional right. Basing off a case decision from Roe vs. Wade is inherently invalid because pro-choice advocates deny the existence of life in a womb, which is not scientific at all. If some pro - choice people state that it starts at the 5th month, while other pro-choice advocates state the 7th month or 8th month, no facts are given to prove the existence of life. It is total chaos, I guess everyone has a different perspective on when life starts. Mine as well kill all the 30 year olds and 80 year olds as well. It is all opinion-based. Now, the issue is WOMEN'S rights to their own bodies vs. the right of life for the unborn. Clearly, the constitution states that there is an inherent right to life. Scientifically speaking, this would include the unborn as well. Life begins at conception, it is common sense. If that is not true, pro-choice advocates need to prove why. Nowhere in the constitution is there a woman's right to perform an abortion, and even if someone states that anti-abortion laws violate the women's right to choose what she wants to do with her body, the constitution does not explicitly mention the women's right to choose. Maybe, it violates the right to liberty and happiness? But, that is all subjective. However, the constitution does explicitly mention a right to LIFE, and this includes the unborn in the womb.

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