Overturning Roe is Just the Beginning; the Coming Abortion Wars Will Tear America Apart
As Justice Alito's draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson sinks in across America, many commentators are coming to realize that eviscerating Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey is just the beginning of the abortion wars. Alito's proposed opinion will have far-reaching consequences that will tear this country apart for decades.
1. Some contraceptives will face bans. If Alito's draft or something like it becomes the Court's eventual ruling in Dobbs v Jackson, conservative states will quickly pass laws prohibiting types of contraceptives that act after conception like the IUD and the morning-after-pill.
2. Many states will pass abortion prohibitions without exceptions for rape and incest. In the past, anti-abortion advocates have said that they support exceptions in cases of rape or incest. However, that's changed today, and women impregnated in such circumstances would be forced to give birth to their attacker's child in many states.
The Atlantic: "In the past few years, though, the anti-abortion movement has moved in a different direction. In 2019, Alabama legislators passed an abortion ban that lacked rape and incest exceptions. Nine other states—Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas—have passed similar laws."
And, just this March, Arizona passed an abortion ban without those exceptions.
3. Murder charges for women who seek abortions. Anti-abortion activists have long said that they only intend to prosecute those that perform abortions, not the women who obtain them. Don't believe them!
First, if you believe that abortion is murder, then the women who obtain them are committing a vile crime. In an unguarded moment, that's what almost every anti-abortion zealot will tell you and it's already happening.
Washington Post: “Republicans in the Louisiana House advanced a bill Wednesday that would classify abortion as homicide and allow prosecutors to criminally charge patients."
Second, medication abortions now account for over half of all abortions. Once abortion is outlawed in half the states, clinics will close and medication abortions will increase further. In those cases, the only one to punish will be the woman who takes the medications. Zealots will demand that someone be punished so legislation to prosecute those individuals will follow quickly.
4. Anti-abortion states will soon try to criminalize out-of-state abortions. Poor women in conservative states will face the cruel choice between an unsafe abortion or an unwanted child, but women with money will travel to places where abortion is legal. That will infuriate anti-abortion activists.
Generally, states can't enforce their laws outside their jurisdiction, but some states are already considering laws to prevent women from obtaining abortions in neighboring states.
BloombergLaw: “It’s going to be an invitation to states to innovate in restricting and banning abortion,” said David S. Cohen, a professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, who’s authored an upcoming article on cross-state legal issues that could arise in the context of abortion rights. “There are going to be a number of states who are not satisfied with just knowing that there’s no abortion happening in their own state. They’re going to want to do more than that.”
Anti-abortion legislators and prosecutors will likely make the argument that planning the trip out of state is a crime itself, something like a "conspiracy to commit abortion."
BloombergLaw: "Prosecutors could argue that as long as some part of the crime took place in the state, then they are allowed to have jurisdiction and developing the guilty intent to travel may be enough, Cohen said."
"If a young woman and her best friend decide in Missouri they’re traveling to Illinois to get an abortion, the criminal intent has taken place in Missouri, he said."
5. A national abortion ban: Despite recent comments from some in Congress that abortion laws should be left to the states, anti-abortion activists will begin their campaign for a national abortion ban the day after the Court's ruling is handed down. They are already gearing up for it.
Forbes: Republican senators have met to discuss legislation that would ban abortion nationwide, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told the Post, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) would reportedly likely introduce the bill.
Anti-abortion groups like the Susan B. Anthony List are working to garner support for the legislation, and have met with Republican contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination about such a ban, including former President Donald Trump.
Republicans wouldn't have enough votes for a national ban in the House and Senate immediately, but it would become the litmus test for every future GOP candidate for Congress.
6. What will be the next Constitutional right to Fall. Justice Alito’s draft opinion for the Supreme Court says that Roe was “egregiously wrong” because it protects a right not mentioned in the Constitution, nor traditionally protected in America. That argument would apply to many other unenumerated liberties that the Supreme Court established under its interpretation of the Liberty and Due process Clauses of the 14th Amendment.
University of North Carolina constitutional law professor Andy Hessick reminded us this week that Alito’s reading of the Constitution would undercut many of the civil rights decisions the Court has made including same-sex marriage.
WRAL: “In the 1960s [and] ‘70s, there were a number of rights that were recognized, like the right to birth control, the right to marriage, the right not to be subjected to sterilization,” Hessick said. “All of them potentially could now be questioned under the reasoning that we should look only to those rights that were recognized back at the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment.”
If you thought our nation was divided before Alito's opinion, just wait; it's about to get much worse. And, unfortunately, the lives of many young women will be destroyed in America's new abortion wars.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content