The most immediate effect

Amy Davidson Sorkin on how it’s going to be if Alito’s poison pen ruling stands:

The most immediate effect of Dobbs, if the draft opinion holds, will be that tens of millions of women will abruptly lose access to abortion. The ruling itself would not institute a ban, but it would give states almost boundless power to do so. More than twenty states already have measures in place that would severely curtail access: “trigger laws,” designed to go into effect once Roe is overturned; restrictions in state constitutions; or laws that predate Roe but were left on the books. After the draft was leaked, Louisiana legislators moved forward with a bill that would not only ban almost all abortions but would define them as homicides. Sixteen states, meanwhile, have laws protecting abortion rights. This should be cold comfort to people who live in those jurisdictions or who have the financial means to travel. Their own rights will be conditional; they may feel that their choice of where to live is constrained; their country will be more divided and unequal than it is now. But the burden will fall most heavily on Americans with less money.

Reading, I was forgetting even to think about the “pregnant person” issue but then it intruded suddenly, out of nowhere.

But a Republican-controlled Congress could also, with the help of a Republican President, introduce a nationwide ban. Following the leak, people around the country donated to funds that, for example, would help someone of limited means in Missouri, which has an onerous trigger law, pay for a plane ticket to obtain an abortion in Massachusetts. These efforts echo the work of groups such as the Jane Collective, which helped women find reputable abortion providers during the pre-Roe era. They are a positive means of providing mutual support—for now. Some Missouri legislators, however, have pushed for a measure that would allow anyone who helps someone obtain an out-of-state abortion to be sued. A follow-up case to Dobbs could easily involve a pregnant person’s unrestricted right to travel to get care in another state. (Women who have miscarriages may be exposed to legal scrutiny, too.) In fact, Alito’s opinion offers a blueprint for a future finding that the Constitution not only doesn’t protect abortion but prohibits it.

It’s so abrupt and out of place I wonder if there’s an editorial mandate or similar. “Say it at least once to keep the screamers off our backs.” But still, as always, it’s only women this is done to. It’s only women who might be criminally prosecuted and convicted and punished for trying to stop being pregnant. It’s not something men ever have to face, because their bodies are the ones that don’t get pregnant, that can’t get pregnant, that never get pregnant.

One Response to “The most immediate effect”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting