Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Pro-Choice Activism: We’ve Been Preparing for This Moment

By Emily Douglas, The Nation

By now we’ve all read the chilling words in Justice Samuel Alito’s draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. As I write, we’re waiting for the final decision, coming any day now. Learning of the imminent demise of Roe did not come as a shock to many in the reproductive justice movement, but I’ll be honest, the brazenness of Alito’s language, the complete disregard for what legal abortion means for ensuring dignity and bodily autonomy, and the total lack of pretense that the court was respecting precedent while eviscerating access—that did shock me.

Fortunately, as a senior editor at The Nation, I can get to work turning shock into understanding.

I’ve been talking with our abortion access correspondent, Amy Littlefield, about what she’ll focus on in the immediate aftermath of the decision. As Amy has reported, at least 26 states are poised to ban abortion soon after Roe is overturned; 13 states even have “trigger bans,” laws banning abortion that go into effect as soon as Roe falls.

When I began reporting on reproductive rights in 2008, one of my first articles was about the spread of trigger laws. They seemed pernicious, but also far-fetched: The Christian right would soon be out of power, so Roe wasn’t going anywhere—right? But the right was laying the groundwork for a frontal assault.

Still, in these same years, the reproductive justice movement has been fighting hard to expand access where it can, and, in many cases, winning. Getting old laws that criminalize abortion off the books, expanding telemedicine abortion and insurance coverage for abortion, and funding abortion outright—these and other advances are even more important now.

That organizing is now super-charged. Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, we’ll be right here, providing you with stories from across the country about the brave acts of resistance committed by activists unwilling to let access to abortion disappear.

–Emily Douglas, Senior Editor

Elie Mystal on Fixing the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is set to revoke the right to an abortion, overturning 50 years of settled legal precedent. This despite the fact that every conservative justice who will sign on to this heinous decision said—under oath, before Congress—that they would respect precedent. So their impending decision to overrule or eviscerate Roe v. Wade represents a lie.

How are they getting away with it?

Well, the answer is “because they have the votes.” Conservatives have spent a generation grooming and appointing judges and justices for the stated purpose of revoking abortion rights in the United States and issuing other decisions that take away for everyone else the rights that white cishet men have enjoyed since 1787. These conservatives now have the power and votes to achieve these goals, and so they will achieve them. They are not going to let petty things like settled law or their oaths get in the way.

If we want to stop these conservatives, the solution is not fanciful legal arguments that point out the conservatives’ own hypocrisies. They know their own hypocrisies and have decided not to care. The solution is to flood the court with additional justices who will stand opposed to the outcomes conservatives want. We must expand the court, because there is no argument, legal theory, or even piece of congressional legislation that will stop these conservatives from revoking the promise of a society where all men and women are treated equally. Read more.

Watch After Roe: An Urgent Conversation
On May 26, Katha Pollitt, Amy Littlefield, and Elie Mystal joined The Nation’s Senior Editor Regina Mahone to discuss the reproductive justice framework, repealing the Hyde Amendment, and how we can best oppose the coming restrictions on abortion rights.


Following the discussion, Pollitt, Littlefield, and Mystal answered a series of wide-ranging questions on the attack on contraception, the Republicans’ hypocrisy of “pro-life”, Democrats’ unwillingnes to fight for voting rights, the steps to take towards reproductive freedom, and much more! Watch the conversation.

What We’re Reading

Senate Democrats press Biden for executive actions on abortion (NBC News)

I’m an abortion doula in the Deep South. This is what I want you to know.  (Scalawag)

Black Women Are Not Surprised By The Fact That Roe Is At Risk, But They’re Damn Sure Prepared  (The Root)

How Mexican feminists are helping Americans get abortions (The Guardian)

Stacey Abrams, a prominent champion of choice, once opposed abortion (The Washington Post)

Medication abortion is the nation’s future. What does it feel like? (The 19th)
I, Too, Have a Human Form (Intelligencer)
Many Futures by Molly Costello


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What This Later-Abortion Story Tells Us About a Post-“Roe” Future
The number of people seeking later abortions is undoubtedly about to increase, and our medical system is unprepared to care for them.
Garnet Henderson
The Anti-Abortion Movement Weaponizes Women Against Women
Anti-abortion women perpetuate the idea that women’s lives are about deference and self-sacrifice. But women must help one another see ourselves as human first.
Nicole Nehrig
Thank you for reading. As always, you can find all of the latest abortion news and analysis from The Nation here.
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