We must use every legislative tool to defend abortion rights

Abortion rights activists demonstrate in Washington on June 30 against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photos

When Anna’s water broke on her wedding day, she knew something was wrong.

Anna was just 19 weeks pregnant — and living in Texas after Senate Bill 8 effectively banned most abortions. When she and her fiancé rushed to the hospital, they received heartbreaking news. The baby would not survive, and she had a high chance of bleeding out.

But even though doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy, they wouldn’t say the word “abortion,” let alone conduct the procedure. Instead, Anna had to spend thousands of dollars and fly hundreds of miles to reach Colorado, the closest state that could give her the care she needed to survive.

This was last September, nine months before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned Roe v. Wade. And while Anna’s story is tragic, it is no longer anomalous. In this post-Roe world, more and more states are stripping Americans of a constitutional right that has helped protect us for the past half-century.

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Now, the next Anna’s life will be in the hands of lawyers arguing for her to access care — or at the whim of a doctor, forced to choose between risking jail or restricting the care she needs.

Last month’s decision has already transformed reproductive care for millions of Americans. But it will fall most heavily on those facing the highest barriers to care and prosperity: women of color.

Studies show that women of color use abortion services more than any other group. But conservative lawmakers have long worked to make reproductive care inaccessible to them. Women of color are more likely to be uninsured, low-income and to use less effective birth control. 

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Due to the Hyde Amendment, even those who use public insurance — from low-income communities to veterans and service members — struggle to access abortion care. Unequal coverage ensures that health care remains more attainable for the wealthy, yet out of reach for those working to make ends meet.

The Supreme Court’s decision only raises these barriers, with potentially deadly consequences.

Law divorced from justice

Laws like SB8 in Texas show abortion restrictions will reach women of color first. An uneven patchwork of care is forcing patients to travel long distances, a costly choice if you don’t have paid sick leave at work. Ending Roe enables laws that invade the privacy of people suffering miscarriages and put …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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