On June 24, the Supreme Court undid fifty years of precedent and ruled that women do not have a constitutional right to an abortion. Immediately, bans went into effect in multiple states. Some states had trigger laws on the books that would immediately go into effect upon Roe v Wade being struck down; in the case of Texas, the state plans to ban nearly all abortions thirty days after the court made its decision on the case. According to the Associated Press, the only exceptions are when a patient’s life is in danger or when bringing a pregnancy to term would significantly impair a major bodily function.
It’s an outcome that isn’t surprising but is nonetheless still heartbreaking. In a post-Roe world, there is a strong chance that around half of the states in this country will have bans or severe restrictions on abortions. About a dozen have already banned it, with more to come in the following weeks. In response, some companies including Amazon, Disney, Starbucks, JP Morgan Chase and others have said they will cover travel expenses for employees who are seeking abortions and must travel out of state to do so. As of now, there is no ban on traveling out of state to obtain an abortion, and it’s difficult to imagine how that would be enforceable or if it would even be constitutional. But it’s a strange time we live in.
With many states expected to ban abortion and people seeking them will likely have to travel far, it is important that companies and states that protect the right to an abortion do what they can to alleviate the burden. Point blank, the conservative quest to outright ban abortion is about control; if it were truly from a place of being pro-life, part of their platform would be comprehensive education reform, expanding health care, paid family medical leave and a host of other policies that we just do not see in the conservative agenda.
What’s incredibly alarming is that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hinted that the Supreme Court should reconsider other cases that were settled in the past, such as past rulings on contraception access and same-sex marriage. Although Justice Samuel Alito said in his concurring opinion that other rights were not at stake, Justice Thomas is saying the quiet part out loud. It’s abhorrent, chilling, and devastating. The fate of rights such as access to contraception, what people do in their own bedrooms and marriage equality are not guaranteed forever. We already know from several confirmation hearings of the justices that were appointed by Trump that cases having “precedent” doesn’t mean anything. If they disagree with it, it’ll be struck down. With the court having a conservative supermajority, the rights that we enjoy as LGBTQ citizens are very much uncertain.