What’s Happening With Roe v. Wade and What You Can Do

Abortion bans have the greatest impact on people who are poor and on people of color. “They’re not able to take a two to three days [off work] and book a hotel,” says Hossain. “People often forget how interconnected the fight for reproductive justice and racial justice is,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong, a reproductive justice organization for women of color, in a statement shared with Glamour. “Abortion bans are another tool that target Black, brown, and queer people’s right to bodily autonomy and safe communities.”

But won’t abortion still be legal in many states?

“Folks that believe, ‘Oh it’s available in California, it’s available in New York,’ are forgetting the vast majority of America,” says Hossain. This is going to be everyone’s problem. “Two dozen states will lose legal abortion access,” Inez McGuire says. “Either abortion will be outlawed in your state or your state will become a state that needs to start providing abortions to people who are coming from out of state. So this will have an impact on every single person in this country.”

What about safe, self-managed abortion? 

“The good thing is we now live in a time where we can access medication abortion to safely and effectively end pregnancies,” says Inez McGuire. “There are folks who are already doing that today, and even more folks we expect will be doing that without access to in-clinic abortion.” 

Do Americans want this?

Polling has consistently shown that Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 70% of respondents oppose overturning Roe. Another poll, this one by Gallup, found that about 60% of respondents oppose it. Gallup analysis found that public opinion on the issue has maintained roughly the same levels in the past 30 years.

“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” the Supreme Court decision draft reads. That’s not true. “Never in the history of this country have we had such politically charged Supreme DCourt justices actively target a fundamental human right like abortion access,” Hossain tells Glamour.

So how is this possible?

How can a handful of people decide whether women have the right to abortion? Essentially, while America is a democracy, the Constitution did not make the Supreme Court a directly representative body. Justices are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, not voted on by the people or chosen by the full Congress.

The five justices who voted to overturn Roe—Clarence Thomas,  Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Alito, per Politico—were appointed by three Republican presidents. (All of the Democrat-appointed justices dissented: Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Roberts’s vote is unknown.) Trump, who appointed three—Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett—became president despite losing the popular election. In addition, during President Obama’s second term, the Republican Senate blocked him from appointing a justice to the court, clearing the way for Trump to appoint Gorsuch.

How do I know if my abortion could have legal consequences?

“People are scared right now,” says Hossain. “We’re pointing people to contact the Repro Legal Defense Fund, which is available 24 hours a day for people to ask any questions related to criminalization or legal questions around abortion care.”

How do I help out?

“There are so many ways that folks can get involved. Number one, everyone has a local abortion fund that they can be donating to,” says Inez McGuire.  

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