Today is the 48th anniversary of the U.S Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, a decision affirming that everyone in this country has the right to make the personal decision to access abortion free from government interference. People had been accessing abortion well before this 1973 court decision, but we’ve had 48 years of it being legal to do so. We’ve also had 48 years (and more) of false narratives, stigma, and harassment from elected officials and others opposed to this basic right.
For a large segment of the American population, there has never been a time when one could not legally access abortion. But with a vocal and ruthless anti-abortion minority – and to be clear opposition to legal abortion is a minority opinion – devoting the last 48 years to undermining this legal access, abortion in many places, including the South and Midwest, is virtually unobtainable for too many people.
The last four years in particular have moved us backwards. The extreme hostility of the Trump-Pence administration to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom brought us constant attacks via administrative law and Executive Orders, an escalation in anti-abortion rhetoric, harassment, violence, and intimidation at abortion clinics, and an increasing diversion of healthcare tax dollars to anti-abortion fake clinics. While much of this damage to reproductive healthcare access can be undone going forward by the new Biden-Harris administration (something that will bring much needed relief for those who provide and access this care) it was the Trump administration’s appointment of three anti-abortion Supreme Court justices and more than 200 conservative federal judges that will be the previous administration’s lasting anti-choice legacy.
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was a 6-3 ruling demonstrating the anti-abortion justices’ willingness to continue singling out abortion care for restrictions that would never be placed on other healthcare procedures. The justices ruled that medication abortion can be restricted from telemedicine even when telemedicine options are being pushed for every other possible procedure due to a global pandemic that requires people to isolate.
While this case may seem minor in impact in places like North Carolina, where telemedicine has been unnecessarily banned for abortion since 2013, it is likely a precursor to more impactful cases to come. Read more