Weekly Link Roundup

Supreme Court Has Voted to Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows (Politico): “The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights … ‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,’ Alito writes … Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months. The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft. No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term.”

What an Unprecedented Supreme Court Leak Says About the Future of Abortion—and About Precedent Itself (The New Yorker): “At a time when the fragility of the right to an abortion has become synonymous with the fragility of the Court’s legitimacy, such a brazen breach of the Court’s process and decorum deflates its dignified mystery. It evinces contempt for the internal rules of the highest body that hands down rulings … the leak seems to mock the current Court’s apparent disregard of precedent … Perhaps the assault on the Court’s legitimacy through an act that invades its privacy norms, disrespects its dignified process, and disrupts its control over the timing of its decision effectively holds up a kind of perverse mirror to what Alito is doing in the draft: depriving people of privacy, dignity, and control in the important and serious decision to have a child when they are ready … in the course of Alito’s argument that our legal tradition prior to Roe did not respect a right to abortion, what is striking is how far he goes to try to establish something more: that there is a strong legal tradition in our nation that has condemned abortion as the destruction of unborn life. By devoting so much of this draft to the view that the criminalization of abortion is deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions, Alito is setting up anti-abortion litigants to argue relatively soon that a fetus has a fundamental right to life that is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that no state shall ‘deprive any person of life’ without due process of law.”

Justice Alito’s Invisible Women (The New York Times): “… young Samuel Alito, as a recent Princeton graduate, joined an organization of conservatives who sought to limit the inclusion of women at his alma mater. Granted that he has made clear his desire to overturn Roe since even before his days on the court. It is still astonishing that in 2022 he would use his power to erase the right to abortion without in any way meaningfully acknowledging the impact both on women and on the constitutional understanding of sex equality as it has evolved in the past half-century … The Alito draft whitewashes decades of progress on women’s rights. It fails, for example, even to cite Justice Ginsburg’s landmark 1996 majority opinion in United States v. Virginia that rejected the exclusion of women from the state-supported Virginia Military Institute. Virginia had defended the men-only admission policy on the ground that women were ill suited for the college’s physically and emotionally demanding culture. Justice Ginsburg’s answer was that physical differences between the sexes cannot be used to justify sex-based stereotypes or to place ‘artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.’ Her analysis made clear that neither can laws regulating pregnancy be based on stereotyped assumptions about women’s roles or capacities. Any distinction on the basis of sex had to be supported by an ‘exceedingly persuasive justification,’ the court held.”

“This Was Not a Surprise”: How the Pro-Choice Movement Lost the Battle for Roe (ProPublica): “(The pro-choice movement) did not foresee a war here. NARAL’s executive director in 1973, when Roe was ruled upon, told her board after the ruling, ‘The court has spoken and the case is closed.’ They saw this as, basically: It’s over. We’ve won. The very, very opposite is true of the pro-life, who said: OK, now we have to think about this strategically, how will we go about overturning Roe? … the pro-life (movement has) over and over again come up with many different ways to chip away at Roe and has been remarkably successful … The pro-life also used technology in a way that had never been used before by showing fetal photography. They … [coined] the phrase ‘partial-birth abortion’ … They came up with … ‘post-abortion syndrome,’ saying that if a woman had an abortion, an enormous percentage of the time, she would suffer psychologically as a result of that. That’s not true. In fact, the opposite is true. The majority of women who have abortions express relief as opposed to regret. If there is something that causes women grief … it is relinquishing their child to adoption. These were all pro-life weapons in attacking Roe, and over and over again, you had the pro-choice movement outfoxed … it speaks to a simple human reality that it’s much easier to try to knock something down than to defend it. What we’re going to see now is the very same problem that the pro-choice had, the pro-life now are going to have, because now … this is going to galvanize the tens of millions of people who are horrified about what’s happening now. They now will have as simple a marching order as the pro-life used to have to reinstate Roe or to come up with another way to ensure that abortion will be legal for women across the country.”

Abortion-rights Advocates Warn of the Economic Toll on Women if Roe v. Wade Is Overturned: ‘A Lot of Us Don’t Realize How on the Edge How Many People Live’ (The Wall Street Journal): “Almost half of abortion patients were living below the poverty line in 2014 and another quarter were at or just a bit above it … Median out-of-pocket charges for medication abortion, which is now estimated to make up more than half of all U.S. abortions, rose from $495 to $560 between 2017 and 2020, according to research published last month in the journal Health Affairs. The median charges for first-trimester procedural abortion increased from $475 to $575, while charges for second-trimester abortion declined from $935 to $895. The share of clinics accepting insurance ticked down from 89% to 80%.”

In A Post-Roe America, Googling ‘Abortion’ Could Put You At Risk. Here’s How To Protect Yourself. (BuzzFeed News): “… compartmentalizing browsers, email addresses, and phone numbers, and designating certain accounts for sensitive activities … Use a burner phone … Be vigilant about who you share personal health information with … Turn on two-factor authentication … Private browsers like Tor and Brave, which deliberately obfuscate your data and online traffic, can be useful tools to securely research abortion medications or coordinate a trip to a health clinic … Chat on encrypted messaging apps with disappearing texts … Be careful of the fine print … Many women have relied on health apps like fertility trackers to better understand their menstrual cycles. However, a number of these apps were quietly sharing user data with third-party services such as analytics partners and marketers … consider the analog option of tracking your period on a traditional calendar … Consider a professional deletion service.”

How to Protect Your Digital Privacy if Roe v. Wade Falls (Wired): “… comprehensive digital privacy is challenging to achieve in an age of widespread user-tracking, location-tracking, and corporate data retention … Across the board, abortion access proponents recommend talking about anything that might carry risk on an end-to-end encrypted messaging app like Signal with the disappearing/auto-deleting feature turned on so your messages don’t hang around on your device or that of the person you’re talking to.”

The Consequences of Ending Americans’ Right to Abortion (The Economist): “If Roe goes … At least 13 states have ‘trigger laws’ that would click into effect the moment Roe is undone; a further 12 are expected to dust off pre-Roe bans or make new ones … abortion would become illegal in half of America’s states. Congress is unlikely to pass a law to protect abortion rights. House Democrats have passed a bill that would guarantee them, but it has little chance in the Senate … For women in conservative states, the effects will be dreadful. Restrictions designed to make it hard for abortion clinics to operate already mean many women have to travel across state lines to terminate a pregnancy. That number will grow. It is difficult to predict by how much because new clinics could open near the borders of states that ban abortion, and no one knows how many women will access abortion medication … Although at least 22 states have introduced bills restricting the use of medication abortion and, if Roe is overturned more will doubtless follow, it is hard to enforce such laws. Abortion-rights groups are working to inform women that such medication is available, even when it is illegal, and that it is safe and effective.”

Why I Learned to Perform Second-Trimester Abortions for a Post-Roe America (The New York Times): “… some 90 percent of abortions in America occurred in the first trimester, but that number seems likely to change as states restrict abortions and it takes people longer to get their procedures. In this way, would-be first-trimester procedures that are outlawed in one state become second-trimester procedures in another … In Oklahoma, the patients I saw were often one to two months further along than my patients in California typically are. They’d driven five hours, sometimes 10, to visit the clinic. They had sometimes been to crisis pregnancy centers that may have intentionally misled them with false information about abortion or given them inaccurate pregnancy dating. They often spent weeks arranging child care, getting time off work, raising funds, finding a place to stay, arranging rides … Ultimately every possible reason for seeking an abortion collapses into one: They don’t want to carry this pregnancy to term. They don’t want to give birth to a baby. That’s enough for me. If we’re going to say we trust people to make decisions about their bodily autonomy, we have to trust them completely.”

America’s Blue-Red Divide Is About to Get Starker (The Atlantic): Alito’s draft, if finalized, would place the GOP-appointed Supreme Court majority firmly on a collision course with the priorities and preferences of the racially and culturally diverse younger generations born since 1980, who now constitute a majority of all Americans and who overwhelmingly support abortion rights. It would amplify the already accelerating divergence in the basic civil rights and liberties available to red-state versus blue-state Americans—and not just regarding abortion. It would also solidify the transition toward a political system in which culture, not class, is the principal dividing line between the parties.

What Choice Does Biden Have? (The New Yorker): “President Biden seemed finally ready to abandon the pretense that he could once again unite the fractured nation and heal our Trump-distorted politics with some old-fashioned bipartisan Senate dealmaking. That comforting fiction helped him defeat Donald Trump in 2020 but has been comprehensively debunked by Biden’s subsequent struggles in governing … The interlocking crises that Biden faces are not separate, one-off problems. They are signs of an American political system in crisis, a system that is trapped in a doomsday spiral of discord and division that Trump’s dangerous Presidency alarmingly accelerated … the nation’s problems are not abating but getting worse, as a radicalized G.O.P. has dug in on its support for Trump, refused to abandon his false claims about the illegitimacy of his successor, and done whatever it could to create a self-fulfilling narrative of Biden’s failure. Republicans have now lost the popular vote in seven of the past eight Presidential elections, but there is no indication that this appalling record has caused any serious consideration within the Party of the course correction which Hogan urges … Biden, in raising expectations that he could restore a sense of normalcy to American politics, has contributed to this dynamic, because, like Barack Obama, he predictably failed to deliver on a vision grounded in a different political era … In such circumstances, it was no doubt inevitable that Biden would shift into partisan-attack mode. In truth, there is no other mode that seems possible for a politician in America today.”

In a Post-Roe America, Expect More Births in a Country Where Maternal Mortality Continues to Rise (ProPublica): “U.S. maternal deaths increased significantly in the first year of the pandemic, going from 754 in 2019 to 861 in 2020, a 14% jump. The death rate for Black women was almost three times higher than that for white women … For every U.S. woman who dies as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, up to 70 suffer dangerous and sometimes life-threatening complications.”

What Would the End of Roe Mean? Key Questions and Answers. (The New York Times): “According to the Center for Reproductive Rights … 25 states are likely to ban abortion if they are allowed to. Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming … Under current law, around one in four American women would be expected to obtain an abortion at some point … They include women from all backgrounds. But statistics show women who receive abortions in the United States are more likely to be unmarried; to be in their 20s; to have low incomes; and to already have a child. They are disproportionately likely to be Black. They are more likely to live in a Democratic-leaning state … The typical patient is already a mother; is poor; is unmarried and in her late 20s; and has some college education … The United States would join a very small group of countries that has tightened abortion laws in recent years, as opposed to loosening them. Three countries have done so since 1994: Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In that period, 59 countries have expanded access.”

How to Win the Abortion Argument (The Atlantic): “… what American activists need most are faces. In 1972, more than 50 well-known American women who’d had abortions put their names to a letter in Ms. magazine, hoping to remove the stigma of the procedure … Real adversity shows the difference between a luxury belief and a principle for which you are prepared to make sacrifices … No doubt the repeal of Roe will encourage more Americans to realize how fundamental abortion rights are to women’s ability to participate in society. ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere,’ Millicent Garrett Fawcett wrote after the death of the suffragette Emily Davison,’ and its voice cannot be denied.’ “

Nationwide Protests Planned in Response to Leaked SCOTUS Abortion Ruling (The Hill): “A coalition of progressive and reproductive rights groups on Thursday announced plans to hold a ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ day of action on May 14 in cities nationwide to push back against the ruling … The ‘massive’ day of action — which is being organized by leaders from Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, Women’s March and MoveOn — will include four anchor marches in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles and hundreds of demonstrations in other cities.”

For those looking to support reproductive freedom, consider joining a planned march (tips for protesting safely here), making a donation to your local abortion clinic, the NNAF, the ACLU and/or NARAL, and writing your elected representatives (find your elected officials here).

Hi, I am Elle!

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