P v W

Fresh Air yesterday:

The Supreme Court is wrapping up its term, and it’s expected that the court will overturn Roe v. Wade. A draft of Justice Alito’s majority opinion that was leaked early last month would end the federally guaranteed constitutional right to abortion and allow states to write their own abortion laws. This is happening as we approach the 50th anniversary of Roe. We’re going to talk about how we got here and what might happen next.

My guest, Mary Ziegler, has written several books and many articles and op-eds about the debates and battles over abortion. She says overturning Roe isn’t the final goal of the anti-abortion movement. Her new book is called “Dollars For Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement And The Fall Of The Republican Establishment.” It’s about how the anti-abortion movement became a major force within the Republican Party and, in the process, transformed the party, opening the door to insurgents and populists like Donald Trump. Ziegler is a professor of law at the University of California, Davis. 

They talk about privacy and the 14th Amendment.

GROSS: Is overturning Roe like the final destination for the anti-abortion movement? Or are there plans to go beyond that?

ZIEGLER: Oh, there are definitely plans to go beyond it. So I think in the book and in all of my research, it’s quite clear that the anti-abortion movement is a personhood movement. From its inception, the anti-abortion movement was about the idea that there are fundamental rights for unborn children, that unborn children or fetuses have rights to equality under the law, have rights to due process of the law. And that’s the end goal, right? It’s not overturning Roe and allowing states to do whatever they want; it’s instead to require that all states, so progressive as well as conservative states, cannot permit abortion. And it’s also, of course, to prevent as many abortions as possible from happening until that personhood goal is reached.

So overturning Roe, of course, is a major step, but it will neither mean the declaration of personhood nor necessarily a huge decline in the number of abortions if people are allowed to travel out of state. And if states are not punishing women and pregnant people and they can get abortion medications on the internet and if progressive states step up their support for people seeking abortion, financially and otherwise, we may not see that much of a decline in the abortion rate. So I think this battle will continue. And for abortion opponents, this is more the beginning of the story than the end.

There it is – early on in the interview, Ziegler took three opportunities to say “people” when she meant “women.” She kept on doing it, too.

ZIEGLER: Well, I think, obviously, there are going to be the kind of classic, you know, states that disallow abortion and sometimes go to extremes in enforcing those bans, right? So we may see extensive digital surveillance of people of reproductive age. We may see efforts, as we mentioned, to try to prevent interstate travel. We may see efforts to punish pregnant people directly. There’ll be states, of course, very progressive states, that not only allow people in their states to have abortions, but facilitate travel from other states, potentially by providing financial support, by protecting their own physicians against extradition requests or lawsuits.

I mean, if you’re thinking about how anyone would know people were having abortions, they would have to be surveying a group of people much broader than those who ultimately would turn out to be seeking abortions.

It’s worth noting, too, that it’s not just providers who are facing these consequences potentially in the short term. Some states are also including criminal punishment for people who aid or abet people seeking abortions. So those could be abortion funds and groups that help low-income people pay for abortions. It could be family members who help to pay for abortions.

Three “people” in that para again, but the first one can actually mean people, so I didn’t bold it.

Somewhat to my surprise, Terry Gross did not follow suit.

GROSS: Let’s talk about punishing women who have an abortion. As you’ve pointed out in your writing, you know, in the past, it’s mostly been abortion providers who have been targeted with, you know, any kind of criminal punishment. But now it looks like we’re opening up the possibility in some states of criminalizing women who have abortions. Where do we stand on that?

I wonder if she’s getting any pressure from younger staffers.

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