abortion law, Links

Abortion Law in the Time of Pandemic

Since early spring, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a horrific toll on Americans in ways direct and indirect. Across the country, lawmakers almost immediately seized on the pandemic as an excuse to label abortion a “non-essential” service and attempted either to close down providers or to place further limits on abortion services.

Well, it’s August, and some of the resulting lawsuits have now had a chance to play out. B. Jessie Hill, Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, has been at the center of the legal battle, arguing successfully to keep the Preterm clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, open. Hill offers a summary of the pandemic-era cases in the Virginia Law Review, in “Essentially Elective: The Law and Ideology of Restricting Abortion During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” She concludes that “for long-term protection of abortion rights, abortion must be reframed as a medically necessary and appropriate treatment, and it must be rhetorically re-incorporated into health care more generally.” The article is well worth a read.

Abortion Access Today

Two more states add “trigger laws”

The election of Tuesday, November 6, brought mixed results for reproductive justice. Women–including many women of color–were elected to office around the country, and the House now has a Democratic majority. However, the Senate remains Republican, and thus retains power over judgeships.

Citizens in three states also voted on ballot measures that would create “trigger laws”–state laws or constitutional amendments that would take effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion regulation to states. In two of the three states–Alabama and West Virginia–the trigger laws passed, meaning that if Roe falls, abortion will become illegal or much less accessible in those states. Alabama’s law has even broader implications as it assigns embryos and fetuses “personhood” status. Oregon voters voted against a proposed trigger law. For details, see Macaela Mackenzie in her Glamour article and Irin Carmon in The Cut.

Meanwhile, an NBC exit poll taken on election day showed that two-thirds of voters favor keeping the Roe decision as the law of the land.

 

Photo: © Can Stock Photo / slickspics

Links

Rev. Donna Schaper on the CCS and Jane

Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York, is featured in a new, short video interview by Tracy Thompson for Jezebel. Rev. Schaper talks about the formation of the Clergy Consultation Service and her own work with the group, and about the Chicago women’s abortion group Jane. She also speaks of the current situation regarding abortion in the U.S.–and what may need to happen if the law changes. (Oh, and the video includes a couple of wonderful archival photos of Howard Moody and Arlene Carmen.)