The anti-abortion movement is trying to find a new focus after Dobbs


The Friday March for Life, the most prominent national anti-abortion event, is the first since last The Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn the June decision Roe v. WadeAnd It highlights how desperate other activists are now that they have achieved the goal of overturning the national right to abortion. But despite the push for a nationwide abortion ban and other restrictions, current legal and political realities do not support this view.

National polls on abortion rights indicate that most Americans — 61 percent, according to the Pew Research Center Data from June – Supporting access to abortion to some extent. voters in California, Vermont, KansasAnd MichiganAnd Kentucky Everyone chose to protect abortion rights in their states after the Supreme Court dismantled the federal right to abortion in the United States Dobbs v. Jackson case this summer. The Food and Drug Administration has expanded access to MifepristoneAnd enabling some pharmacies to dispense this medicine with a medical prescription. Although some states have enacted, or attempted to enact, strict anti-abortion measures, legal challenges have sometimes kept those decisions or completely revoke it.

Yet politicians continue to push federal anti-abortion measures like Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed in September National ban after 15 weeks of gestation. State legislatures also attempt to enact restrictive laws such as Georgia banned six weeks And Texas A near-total ban on abortion, creating an environment in which, as legal historian Mary Ziegler put it, Fresh Air on NPR on Tuesday“What was once a constitutional right not so long ago is now a crime in large swathes of the country.”

However, now that activists have achieved the end of a constitutionally protected abortion right, there is not an overarching goal, but rather a series of smaller, disparate goals—some of which prove difficult to achieve.

Anti-abortion activists got what they wanted — for now

Decades of Anti-Abortion Activism – March for Life’s 50th Anniversary Almost Turns 50 the Next Day ru And decideculminating in the US Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs. The movement’s energy, funding, and influence were channeled toward that specific goal; A network of powerful, well-organized right-wing groups including the Susan B. Anthony and the National Council of Women, two abortion advocacy organizations, have poured money and resources into the fight since the 1980s, and now their efforts are finally paying off.

Now, some anti-abortion activists are calling for more. “We’re not done reacting to Rowe’s coup,” said Jane Mancini, president of the Mars Fund for Life Education and Advocacy, he told the New York Times Friday. “Why? Because we’re not done yet. Let me say it again: We’re not done yet.”

In the absence of an overarching goal, the movement’s leaders have expressed anti-abortion concerns The activity may fade away – and some fear that without sustained effort it could still happen.

“We have to work really hard to make sure we’re keeping an eye on the award, and not saying, ‘Hey, Roe v. Wade flipped over. We’ve done our job. It’s time to go home now. I would say, just to be transparent, that was a concern of ours,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro Life America, said. He said on Friday.

However, anti-abortion leaders said they were glad to attend this year’s rally, seeing it as an indication that there is still energy around the movement. But the question is how this energy will be channeled.

Legislation at the state level It has always been a priority; This is how some of the more difficult restrictions on abortion have since gone into effect ru flipped over. There could be additional efforts at the state level to restrict abortion through legislative action or to amend state constitutions explicitly to deny the right to abortion.

Like Vox’s Marin Cogin These kinds of nationwide actions, he wrote on Friday, have upended the lives of many women in heels Dobbs:

Overnight, a generation of women who gave birth to a constitutionally protected abortion right saw it dispossessed. While previous legal restrictions and challenges meant that some women, particularly in the South, were living with de facto prohibitions before the fall of ruOfficially losing this right has serious implications for people of childbearing age, plunging many women into uncertainty and forcing them to consider how the rapidly changing political landscape will influence some of the biggest decisions in their lives.

For people trying to navigate a post-ru In the world, alternatives to surgical abortion, such as medical abortion and even contraception, could become a target of the anti-abortion movement. Activists could seek to restrict access to mifepristone, Which is used to terminate a pregnancy within ten weeks of pregnancy. like Politico It was reported earlier in January that some anti-abortion groups plan to hold sit-ins in front of pharmacies in states where mifepristone will be available in February; Some states, including Missouri and Kansas, are even considering banning getting mifepristone by mail or from a pharmacy.

So can anti-abortion groups The goal of hormonal contraceptives. This may sound a little different than legislative actions around medication and surgical abortions — as an investigation from the outlet Reveal found, these actions can also include undermining trust or providing unreliable alternatives to birth control like the pill or IUD.

As Dr. Tanika Miller, MD, an ob-gyn and clinical professor at Emory College of Medicine, told Vox’s Cogan, “I think there’s an idea: Is there going to be a slippery slope? Is there going to be contraception in the future? And I don’t think we can really talk about that.” .

Graham’s proposed 15-week ban has so far failed to gain significant political or legislative traction. In a deeply divided Senate and House of Representatives with weak Republican majorities, the likelihood of this kind of legislation passing right now is low. Seeing the poor performance of anti-abortion candidates in the midterm elections seems to have dampened any real political appetite for such a ban.

In the near future, efforts to further restrict abortion in the United States are likely to be fragmented, focusing on a variety of different measures such as the prosecution of abortion providers, such as Abortion is prohibited in Texas.

Whatever energy the movement sustains, the focus will be divided in different directions, inviting the possibility of stagnation, indecision, and infighting. What’s more, though, activists snatched the brass coup ring ruIndeed, legislation to ban or restrict abortion has become something of a whack-a-mole when such legislation faces challenges in court and the will of the electorate.

There will be barriers for anti-abortion activists

But the Dobbs The decision did not make abortion illegal across the country, it merely negated the federal right to abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment, which establishes the right to due process and legal protections under the law. In a very conservative and traditional reading of the Constitution that Judge Samuel Alito They work in writing the majority’s opinion dobbs, The right to abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment does not exist because it is not explicitly found in the text. It also denies by proxy Planned Parenthood v. Caseythe 1992 issue that has been amended Roe v. Wade To allow states to impose some restrictions on abortion access, but nothing that would be too onerous.

Rachel Rebuchy, Dean, Paisley School of Law, Temple University, He told Vox back in September. But later-Dobbs She explained at the time that the legal complications surrounding abortion legislation had only increased.

the Dobbs The decision penalizes laws on abortion access down to the state level, where many legislatures—like Georgia, for example—already had laws on the books that severely limit access to abortion. With ru And Casey Having disappeared, these laws can come into force, but they are far from settled. In Indiana, for example, a very restrictive abortion ban was implemented soon after Dobbs It was decided to make its way through the state courts. This legislation I have stayed since SeptemberThe lower court judge decided that The ban likely violated the state’s constitutional right to privacy.

In states like Indiana, abortion clinics can reopen while challenges to abortion bans make their way through the courts, but it’s a delicate tightrope walk. like Clinics in Arizona Last fall, the ability of abortion clinics to provide care could change by the day, causing chaos and great distress for caregivers, not to mention the people seeking care. and in States like Idaho Bans are still allowed, albeit with some changes, despite those legal challenges.

A look at midterms in November 2022 also suggests some of the challenges anti-abortion activists will face as they try to move the movement forward. As Linda Greenhouse, a former New York Times reporter, writes in: Opinion article for the newspaperSome of the more radical anti-abortion candidates for office, such as Doug Mastriano, who advocated banning abortion without exception when he ran for governor of Pennsylvania, lost their contests. Even those who initially chalk out the extremes and later try to mitigate them, like Blake Masters in his race for the US Senate, are often unsuccessful.

Even this year’s March for Life did not see the big political names that have drawn in the past, such as Politico reported; Majority House whip Steve Scales was the highest-ranking Republican candidate elected to speak. He promised that Dobbs The decision was “only the first phase of the fight” against abortion, and in a sense he’s right. But the movement is trying to move forward beyond post-ru Victory, any other limitation will not pass without long, complex and often unpopular battles.



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