Reproductive Rights

A New Day In The Fight For Reproductive Freedom And Religious Freedom

  Rob Boston

Friday was a difficult day. At Americans United, we’ve been monitoring Supreme Court rulings as the term winds down. We knew, based on the leaked draft that appeared in Politico, that the high court was almost certain to overturn Roe v. Wade. But to see it officially released as a ruling of the court was still a shattering blow.

The news only got worse in the days that followed. As we had warned, anti-abortion zealots have no intention of stopping here and already are plotting a series of new moves. These include attacks on certain forms of birth control, state laws that would punish people who seek abortions in other parts of the country and a federal law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

The mood of the country is unsettled, and many Americans are worried – rightly so – that other rights may soon come under attack. While several members of the court majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization insisted that its ruling is limited to the issue of abortion, Justice Clarence M. Thomas was having none of it. In his concurring opinion, he listed several cases that, in his view, are ripe to be overturned. These include Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 ruling that protects the right of married couples to use birth control; Lawrence v. Texas from 2003, which struck down state laws criminalizing same-sex relationships between consenting adults; and 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges, which extended marriage equality nationwide.

Shortly after the ruling in Dobbs came down, Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser said in a statement to the media, “Abortion bans undermine religious freedom by attempting to impose one religious viewpoint on all of us. Americans United is readying religious freedom litigation which will bring this argument to our courts.”

We’ll have more to say about that litigation in the weeks to come. For now, be assured that Americans United is no stranger to the battle for reproductive freedom. Now in its 75th year, Americans United fought entrenched religious interests in the 1950s and ’60s to secure adults’ right to access birth control. In 1973, when Roe was handed down, AU supported the ruling. When legislative attacks on Roe began, Americans United was one of the few organizations to call them what they were: attempts to force all Americans to live by the religious rules of some.

The months and years ahead are not going to be easy; many Americans may lose rights they thought were secure. There’s more than a whiff of theocracy in the air.

But if Christian nationalists believe that Americans United, its allies and the millions of people we represent are simply going to roll over, they are about to learn they’ve got another thing coming.

P.S. If you’re not a member of Americans United, now’s the time to join.

Photo: AU President and CEO Rachel Laser joins a protest outside the Supreme Court

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