If confirmed, the reversal of the Roe v. Wade, suggested by a US Supreme Court leak, could soon lead to an abortion ban in half of the country’s states.
Posted at 5:00 am
Updated at 8:17am
The procedure would remain accessible in at least 10 other states, notes Elizabeth Nash, an analyst at the Guttmacher Institute who expects greater access to medical abortions will eventually allow many women to circumvent new restrictions without taking undue risks.
“It wouldn’t be an outright return to the pre-Roe c. Wade,” warns M.me Nash, who nevertheless remains baffled by the orientation advocated by the conservative wing of the US Supreme Court.
“We are witnessing the pinnacle of Republican efforts regarding the federal justice system… The judges say the arguments on which Roe v. Wade are weak, baseless, when we talk about the right to liberty and privacy. You wonder what else is not protected by the Constitution,” the analyst underlines.
mme Nash is particularly concerned about the plight of women living in the south and central parts of the country, where most states are concentrated, as they have already made clear that they want to end abortion and will legislate in this direction pending a decision. hypothetical judgment on the Supreme Court.
In much of the country, women couldn’t just cross the border of their state to have an abortion in the clinic. They should go two or three states further.
Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher Institute Analyst
Such a scenario is likely to be detrimental to people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who often struggle to bear the costs associated with transport, the intervention itself and the work leave required to undergo it away from home.
Their job is also likely to be complicated by the fact that anti-abortion lawmakers intend to pass laws to prevent them from seeking abortions beyond their borders.
Two weights, two sizes
Mississippi, which is at the root of the case currently under consideration by the Supreme Court, specifically plans to allow its citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of the state terminate a pregnancy.
In contrast, states seeking to facilitate access to abortion, including for women from neighboring states, are planning to enact laws protecting doctors and clinics from the courts.
“Judges and scholars have long argued that the legal framework for abortion would become simpler if Roe v. Wade is overthrown, but is extremely naive,” lawyers warned in a recent study that found a multiplication of “complex legal conflicts” between jurisdictions on the subject. predicts.
Rachel Rebouché, a Temple University professor who co-authored the study, notes that anti-abortion states can have great difficulty regulating the comings and goings of their citizens or identifying the organizations that control them. help out. sanctions may be ineffective.
In the case of the overthrow of Roe c. Wade could also fuel lawsuits against the federal government, for example by arguing that areas under its control in restrictive states are not subject to the abortion ban.
the drug route
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could also try to facilitate the distribution of drugs that can cause abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol, on the pretense that its decision overrides those of states that try to restrict access instead.
“These are unusual avenues that have not yet been legally explored,” notes Ms.me summarized.
Whatever happens, it is clear that medical abortion will become even more important in a context of increasing restrictions.
Nearly 54% of abortions in the United States were performed with medication in 2020, compared to 39% in 2017, notes the Guttmacher Institute.
Lisa Maldonado, who leads the Reproductive Health Access Project, a US nonprofit that supports the delivery of reproductive health care, notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has favored telemedicine while enabling this remote approach. .
US President Joe Biden’s administration recently failed to pass a law protecting access to abortion nationwide, doesn’t have enough votes in the Senate, but can’t give up on that much, Note Mme maldonado.
“We need to elect new representatives who support such a law,” she said.
“It is not easy to intervene at this stage, but the federal government must consider all possible avenues,” adds Ms.me nas.