Last week’s leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide, was a kind of metaphorical atomic bomb – and the shock waves just keep coming.
While overturning Roe would return abortion policy to the states, it would be naïve to think that religious extremists will be satisfied with that. They’re already plotting their next move – a nationwide law banning abortion in all 50 states.
The Washington Post reported May 2 that anti-abortion organizations have been meeting with allies in Congress to fashion a strategy if Roe is overturned and Republicans take control of Congress after November’s midterm elections. They’ve also reached out to 10 possible 2024 GOP presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, to ensure that they’d be willing to sign a law that bans abortion nationwide.
“This is a whole new ballgame,” Kristan Hawkins, president of the anti-abortion Students for Life Action, told The Post. “The 50 years of standing at the Supreme Court’s door waiting for something to happen is over.”
Meanwhile, legislators in red states are busy trying to figure out ways to prevent people from traveling to states where abortion is likely to remain legal. Two states, Missouri and Texas, are considering bills that would punish anyone who gets an abortion elsewhere (as well as anyone who helps someone else get an abortion). At the federal level, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a bill that would punish companies that have health care plans that pay for employees to get out-of-state abortions. (So much for the GOP philosophy of not regulating private businesses.)
In Louisiana, legislation has been proposed that would classify abortion as a form of homicide. This means doctors who perform the procedures or people who receive them could be charged with murder and face imprisonment if found guilty. The bill is so strict that even emergency contraception, which is often provided to victims of sexual assault, would be illegal.
And don’t think access to birth control is safe. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” May 8, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) refused to rule out banning certain forms of contraceptives, such as Plan B pills and intrauterine devices. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) has signed legislation making it illegal for any physician to use telehealth meetings or the mail to provide certain medications that cause abortion. Doctors who violate the law could be subjected to a fine of $50,000.
Remember, it was only a little over a week ago that news about this draft ruling broke. Buckle your seatbelts. This ride is only going to get bumpier.
P.S. Had enough? Tell your senators to preserve abortion rights by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.