Monday, June 27, 2022

Progressive Perspectives on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

Last Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court officially and effectively ended abortion access for people in about half of the United States.

The court’s ruling was 6-3, with Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissenting. “With sorrow – for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection – we dissent,” they wrote.

The decision in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturns long-settled laws established in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and also Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).

The majority opinion in Dobbs is virtually identical to the draft leaked last month.

Following is a compilation of progressive perspectives on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ending of nearly half-a-century of legal precedent safeguarding abortion access as a constitutional right. By progressive perspectives I mean informed points of view that recognize the importance of – and thus advocate for – ever-expanding circles of inclusion, compassion, justice, and civil & human rights.


With this decision, the Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing supermajority has struck a tremendous blow to our fundamental freedoms. It is undeniable proof of how broken our nation’s highest court has become.

Our court has been overtaken by out-of-control political appointees with an extreme right-wing agenda. If we don’t do something to stop them, they will continue to attack our most basic rights, until we no longer recognize the country we live in.

Christina Harvey
Executive Director of Stand Up America
June 24, 2022

Research has shown that when abortion is banned or restricted, abortions do not cease, they just move underground. This increases the risk both of unsafe procedures and that people will be reported to police or prosecuted for suspected abortions. This is likely to particularly affect people who have historically had less access to health services due to discrimination and other systemic barriers, including adolescents; Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; people living in rural communities or in poverty; and people discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The U.S. – which shockingly already has the highest maternal mortality rate among at least 10 other wealthy countries – should brace for maternal mortality and morbidity to rise, particularly among Black people and people living in poverty.

On Friday, June 24, an extremist majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overruled more than 50 years of legal precedent, taking away a previously recognized fundamental right for the first time in the court’s history. In doing so, it unleashed the full force of a regressive, coordinated state-by-state attack on the already perilously eroded right to access an abortion, on women’s rights, the human right to bodily autonomy, privacy, and control over our own lives and dignity, and to life-saving healthcare and freedoms.

[The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health] puts at risk any rights that were not already in place more than 150 years ago when the 14th Amendment was ratified.

We are not sounding a new alarm. The nation’s 140 million poor and low-income people, including 74 million women and girls, have been declaring this emergency in the face of an all-out-attack in courts and extremist legislatures across this country, particularly in the South.

The immediate and long-term impact of this decision in Dobbs v. Jackson will be disproportionately felt by poor women, women of color, transgender, and gender non-confirming people, all of whom already face increased healthcare disparities and economic insecurity. In over 20 states today, women have lost or are likely to lose the right to control their bodies and reproductive health. In 13 states, abortion will be banned within 30 days, as “trigger bans” designed to take effect as soon as Roe was overturned are already in place. In five states, courts have recently struck down legislation banning abortion; the Dobbs’ decision means that legislation will likely take effect in mere weeks or months. In another 10 states, the Washington Post has declared that “the fate of abortion rights remains uncertain.”

Even before this decision, states with more restrictive abortion laws had higher maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Without adequate and universal healthcare available to all women, we can expect these disparities to climb even higher: experts are predicting at least a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths.

Once again, poor and low-income women, especially in the South and in states that did not expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, or otherwise enact laws and policies that ensure we can thrive outside the womb, will be hit first and worst by this decision.

. . . [W]e call on Congress to expeditiously and absolutely end the filibuster and take legislative action immediately to codify Roe v. Wade, ensure universal, single-payer healthcare, including the expansion of Medicaid in every state, and ensure the full protections of the Voting Rights Act in every election. We call on President Biden to take immediate action to guarantee reproductive freedoms and use the power of his executive authorities to unabashedly fight for the heart and soul of this country, especially the 140 million poor and low-income people.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (pictured),
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Shailly Gupta Barnes

Excerpted from “The Current U.S. Supreme Court
Is Not Constitutionally Legitimate

Common Dreams
June 25, 2022

The Supreme Court has now mandated forced pregnancy, taking away an intensely personal freedom for pregnant people to make decisions about our own bodies with a doctor or loved one, and instead bringing politicians into your decision and your bedroom. Every woman, every family, every pregnant person should fear what this means for their futures.

It is important that Americans understand that this Supreme Court and Republicans in Congress will not stop here. In the opinion, the [conservative] justices say explicitly that the court should reconsider “all substantive due process precedents,” including the right to contraception, to same-sex marriage, and to same-sex relationships.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
Quoted in Jake Johnson’s article, “‘A Dark Day for Our Nation’:
Right-Wing Supreme Court Ends
Constitutional Right to Abortion

Common Dreams
June 24, 2022

A day at the Supreme Court that shakes America to its core.

What to say that hasn’t been said but needs to be said again, and again, and again: This is not a court of humble jurists who are bound in any way by fidelity to precedent, the law, or common sense. There is nothing “conservative” about these damaging decisions, or the men and woman who have imposed their extreme views upon the American populace.

Right-wing politicians decry “elitism,” but what is more elitist than unelected and unaccountable activists using the language of legal argumentation as a fig leaf for their naked exercise of power?

There is no way that these decisions would pass a vote of the American public. Indeed, a majority of the justices were installed by presidents who lost the popular vote. And the polling on the issues these rulings tear asunder suggests that what these justices are doing is unpopular – in many cases, very unpopular.

But they sneer from their echo chamber of extremism. They are emboldened by a system that has been fixed, with the complicity of Mitch McConnell and others, to advantage minority viewpoints by leveraging a branch of government not designed to be a political actors’ stage in order to circumvent the legislative and executive branches.

Where to begin, and where will it end? . . . The Supreme Court depends on its legitimacy, and today that is as tattered as the constitutional rights on which it has trampled.

Dan Rather (pictured) and Elliot Kirschner
Excerpted from “Echo Chamber of Extremism
June 24, 2022

Abortion will remain a fundamentally personal decision grounded in self-determination and bodily autonomy that can never be revoked by religious tyranny or the patriarchal indifference of the state. By overturning Roe v. Wade (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court has abruptly ended nearly half a century of legal precedent safeguarding abortion access as a constitutional right. Life for millions of women, nonbinary, and trans people seeking abortion as a matter of reproductive health has turned into a nightmare.

Anti-abortion laws set to trigger in lieu of a ruling striking down Roe have now gone into effect throughout the US – making abortion illegal in 13 states. Providing or seeking out an abortion has become a criminal offense in Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Lousiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Many provisions in states where abortion has been criminalized impose heavy fines for those seeking out the procedure (up to $4K), including doctors performing it (up to $100K), and several omit longstanding exceptions for abortions in cases of incest, rape, or health of the mother. Numerous other states are set to swiftly enact legislation codifying abortion as a criminal offense, prohibiting the procedure for half the country.

This is the culmination of a right-wing dream to criminalize any personal, romantic, or sexual activities threatening the class-based privilege enshrined by heterosexual marriage. Restricting the bodily and sexual agency of millions has nothing to do with freedom, or state’s rights, and everything to do with systemic patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, exploitation, racism, and capitalism, endorsed by the state.

Today we must strategically organize for a movement that confronts a political system operated by a ruling class prioritizing its own self-preservation – defending existing abortion protections, approaching voting as a tool for building power instead of coronating saviors, strengthening and supporting the National Network of Abortion Funds and local affiliates like the Baltimore Abortion Fund (BAF) while creating new communal networks of care to fill the void of legally provided abortions.

Our collective agency is our greatest power. Ultimately, it cannot be derived from the state but is something we innately possess as members of the human family. I mourn and stand in solidarity with everyone affected by Roe's demise, remaining committed to working for a world transcending patriarchal exploitation.

Phillip Clark
via Facebook
June 24, 2022

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said Sunday that right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justices who “misled” senators during their respective confirmation hearings about whether they supported overturning Roe v. Wade should be impeached for lying under oath.

During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ocasio-Cortez told host Chuck Todd that the high court’s reactionary majority “dramatically overreached its authority” when it struck down the 1973 legal precedent on Friday, imperiling access to abortion care throughout the U.S.

“If we allow Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath and secure lifetime appointments to the highest court of the land and then issue – without basis, if you read these opinions – rulings that deeply undermine the human civil rights of the majority of Americans, we must see that through,” the progressive lawmaker said when asked if the House Judiciary Committee should launch an investigation.

“There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and the hostile takeover of our democratic institutions,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “What makes it particularly dangerous is that it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations.”

. . . Ocasio-Cortez stressed Sunday that the high court’s assault on hard-won rights is a “crisis of democracy” and a “crisis of legitimacy” that President Biden must address.

Yet despite the recent spate of decisions by the Supreme Court’s deeply unpopular right-wing majority to end the constitutional right to abortion care, weaken gun restrictions, undermine the separation of church and state, and erode Miranda rights – with more attacks on equality and federal regulatory power expected – the White House on Saturday reiterated the president’s opposition to rebalancing the court by adding seats.

Kenny Stancil
Excerpted from “Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached
for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

Common Dreams
June 26, 2022

On June 24, author, activist, and former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson was a guest on Australia’s Sky News network, where she said that the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling is a “disturbing” attack on women’s agency.

For the full 7-minute interview, see below.

The anti-abortion right frames the overturn of Roe as an act of democracy, “returning the decision to the states,” and correcting federal overreach. This is misleading at best. The states in which abortion is now illegal are heavily gerrymandered and undemocratic themselves; it is simply not true that abortion bans reflect the will of the people. In fact, a majority of Americans – about 60 percent – believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

The consequences of abortion restrictions in red states prior to this moment have been disastrous as residents have been forced to travel out of state to access care at significant personal cost. Texas’s notorious Senate Bill 8 law resulted in a significant number of patients from Texas with a gestational age past six weeks traveling to Oklahoma for abortion appointments – until Oklahoma passed a total abortion ban, leaving Texans seeking abortions with even fewer options.

We can expect this situation to spread further across the country, with abortion patients forced to travel even longer distances to access abortion. Of course, this will place an undue hardship on patients without the means to travel out of state – whether that be due to the financial burden, lack of access to child care, sick leave, or other reasons.

More grotesquely, abortion patients will not only have to face undue financial and logistical hurdles to access essential health care – but they will also have to brave the police, or in some cases, state-funded vigilantes, in order to do so. Texas’s SB 8 law allows literally anyone to file suit against someone who “aids or abets” in an abortion – though not the abortion patient themselves. Someone who drives a patient to a bus so that they can receive an abortion out of state could be sued, and the plaintiff would be awarded $10,000 in damages. Abortion patients themselves cannot be sued.

. . . [T]he criminalization of providing abortion care and aiding and abetting abortion puts pregnant people in grave danger. Some states may make “life of the mother” exemptions. But most United States hospitals are either for-profit or religiously affiliated nonprofits with ideological opposition to abortion. There is seldom a clearly demarcated point at which an abortion becomes absolutely, unambiguously medically necessary. A private health care facility may not risk criminal charges in order to save a patient’s life. Notoriously, Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis in an Irish hospital when doctors refused to perform an abortion because, though her pregnancy was no longer viable, a fetal heartbeat was still detected. As of this writing, an American woman, Andrea Prudente, is set to be airlifted out of Malta, the only country in the European Union with a total abortion ban. Even though her pregnancy is no longer viable, and without an abortion, she risks the same fate, a fetal heartbeat is still detected and doctors refuse to provide an abortion. Of course, the U.S. leads the developed world in mortality during childbirth. With the end of Roe, it will become even more dangerous to give birth in the U.S.

Emily Janakiram and Lizzie Chadbourne
Excerpted from “Now Is the Time to ‘Aid and Abet’ Abortion
June 24, 2022

Following are author, lawyer, and political commentator Robert Reich’s thoughts on “what’s coming next” in light of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Rove v. Wade.

I think [Justice Clarence Thomas is] the only one on the court or in the majority that is willing to tell the truth [about going from here to overturning other rights and protections]. . . . Justice Samuel Alito seems to backpedal and say, well . . . the only rights that are affected are abortion rights. Well, that’s just bunk. I mean, the rationale that the court used to overturn Roe and Casey is equally applicable to a whole range of what are called unenumerated rights, or rights that aren’t specifically listed in the Constitution but derive from our notions of liberty and equality. And that includes contraception. That includes gay rights. It includes trans rights. It includes end-of-life care. It includes the ability to make decisions about one’s child’s education. There’s a host of liberties — the right to travel isn’t mentioned specifically in the Constitution. So there’s a host of interests that are at play here.

Interestingly enough, Justice Thomas didn’t mention the right to marry a person of a different race, maybe because it affects him personally, as opposed to all these others that are just, you know, people he doesn’t care about.

But the reality is, I do think that this ruling is extremely, extremely broad. It is written in a way that can expand. And frankly, state legislators are already attacking us, attacking contraception, attacking trans people, attacking gay marriage in a host of ways. Those attacks will make their way to the Supreme Court and, frankly, I think this court is likely to expand the ruling significantly.

Following last week’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down federal protections for abortion rights, major companies, including a number of Silicon Valley giants, publicly broadcast their intention to assist their workers in traveling out of state to obtain an abortion. Meta, Apple, Disney, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Condé Nast were among them, the New York Times noted, joining companies that had made similar pledges in May, when a leaked memo revealed that the Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. These companies include Reddit, Tesla, Microsoft, Starbucks, Yelp, Airbnb, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co. and PayPal, the Times reports.

Meanwhile, Google pledged to allow workers to apply to relocate “without justification” if they live in states that do not allow abortion. Uber reiterated that its “insurance plans in the U.S. already cover a range of reproductive health benefits, including pregnancy termination and travel expenses to access healthcare.”

On its face, these gestures by employers may seem like a good thing. As Levi Strauss & Co. put it in a statement: “Protection of reproductive rights is a critical business issue impacting our workforce, our economy and progress toward gender and racial equity. Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard.” And perhaps such gestures are preferable to the alternative: offering absolutely nothing to workers who have been stripped of their core rights overnight.

But this response opens up another door to hell: The reality that workers will be even more reliant on capricious and self-interested employers to provide basic, necessary healthcare, handing bosses even more power, while giving workers one more thing to fight tooth and nail to protect.

Let’s look at how this approach has worked out for general health coverage. In a country that, unlike other industrialized nations, does not provide free and universal healthcare to its people, individuals rely on employers for this vital good. This means that a worker’s boss has control over their ability to get emergency heart surgery without going bankrupt, to pay for a child’s leukemia treatment, to get preventative healthcare to ward off serious complications, to afford insulin in order to not die from diabetes, etc. In other words, workers’ ability to keep themselves and their loved ones alive is decided by the whims of their bosses.

Routine, day-to-day matters – like asking for time off, or asking a boss not to sexually harass you, or even banding together with your coworkers to organize a union – have higher stakes under this system. What if a boss retaliates? What if you were already on thin ice? What if layoffs are coming down the bend and the slightest perceived act of defiance puts you on the chopping block? If you lose your job, you lose your healthcare. And if this healthcare is extended to your dependents and spouse, so does your family.

And what of other, more-difficult-to-quantify matters, like personal happiness and fulfillment at work? According to a May 2021 survey from West Health and Gallup, one out of six adults who receives employer-provided healthcare is staying in a job they don’t want because they’re afraid of losing these benefits. Of people making less than $48,000 a year, 28 percent are staying in a job they don’t want for this reason. And for Black workers, it’s 21 percent. It’s difficult to overstate the significance of these findings. In a capitalist society, work is how we spend our lives. Squandering our one precious life in an unwanted job is a tragic waste.

Of course, the best way to protect one’s health benefits, short of winning universal healthcare, is to organize a union. Union workers are significantly more likely than their non-union counterparts to have health benefits at all. But imagine all the things workers could win if they didn’t have to spend their time at the bargaining table negotiating over their members’ ability to survive. If healthcare were off the table, because it was already provided by the government, maybe we would have stronger common good wins, or clauses protecting the right to strike under any circumstance, or 30-hour work weeks.

Now, apply this principle to the realm of abortion. To think of having to add protection of one’s ability to get an abortion to the list of things employers provide, and can therefore take away, is terrifying. First, no one should ever be in the position of having to talk to an employer about their need to travel out of state for an abortion. But secondly, some of the companies that are publicly claiming they will protect abortion rights are among the most viciously anti-union employers of our time. How will they use this new form of leverage to crack down on workers’ rights to demand better conditions?

Sarah Lazare
Excerpted from “The Fresh Hell of Depending
on Your Employer for Abortion Access

In These Times
June 27, 2022

Following are a few more of the many memes that have been circulating on social media in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

NEXT: Heather Cox Richardson:
Quote of the Day – August 2, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade – Oriana Gonzalez (Axios News, June 24, 2022).
“A Dark Day for Our Nation”: Right-Wing Supreme Court Ends Constitutional Right to Abortion – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, June 24, 2022).
Overturning Roe Flies in the Face of American Public Opinion – Melissa Deckman (, June 24, 2022).
Justice Thomas: Supreme Court “Should Reconsider” Contraception and Same-sex Marriage Rulings – Quint Forgey and Josh Gerstein (Politico, June 24, 2022).
Supreme Court Opens Door to Overturning Rights to Contraceptives, Same-sex Relationships and Marriage – Kiara Alfonseca (ABC News, June 24, 2022).
“We Will Fight Back”: Outrage and Resolve as Protests Erupt Against Supreme Court’s Abortion Ruling – Brett Wilkins (Common Dreams, June 24, 2022).
Time for Collins and Democrats to Walk the Walk and Pass a National Right to Abortion Law – Robert Reich (, June 25, 2022).
“We Need Action”: Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe U.S. – Kenny Stencil (Common Dreams, June 25, 2022).
The Supreme Court Has Gone Rogue – Sean Donovan (Medium, June 27, 2022).
America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good – Ronald Brownstein (The Atlantic, June 24, 2022).

UPDATES: This Is How Life in Post-Roe America Is Starting to Shape Up – Rachel Treisman (NPR News, June 28, 2022).
Frustration at Biden and Other Democrats Grows Among Abortion-Rights Supporters – Danielle Kurtzleben (NPR News, June 28, 2022).
Team Biden Appears to Be Waving the White Flag After Roe – and Infuriating Democrats – Ja’han Jones (The ReidOut Blog, June 28, 2022).
Encrypt, Obscure, Compartmentalize: Protecting Your Digital Privacy in a Post-Roe WorldDemocracy Now! (June 28, 2022).
This Right-Wing Attack on Abortion Rights Is a Direct Attack on Liberal Democracy – Jeffrey C. Isaac (Common Dreams, June 29, 2022).
Roe, Roe, Roe Your Vote – Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan (Democracy Now!, June 30, 2022).
The Supreme Court’s Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup – Naomi Klein (The Intercept, June 30, 2022).
Children Will Suffer the Consequences of Recent Supreme Court Rulings – Derrick Z. Jackson (The Equation, July 1, 2022).
A Socialist Response to the End of Roe: Don’t Mourn – Organize for Reproductive Justice – Diana Moreno (In These Times, July 1, 2022).
Beware: The Supreme Court Is Laying Groundwork to Pre-Rig the 2024 Election – Thom Hartmann (Common Dreams, July 1, 2022).
Losing a Pregnancy Could Land You in Jail in Post-Roe America – Robert Baldwin III (NPR News, July 3, 2022).
This Right-Wing U.S. Supreme Court Is the New King George III – Juan Cole (Common Dreams, July 4, 2022).
How the U.S. Supreme Court Is Reshaping America – Sarah Smith (BBC World News, July 4, 2022).
House Progressives Urge Reforms to “Hold These Rogue Justices to Account” – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, July 5, 2022).
Judicial Coup? Supreme Court Gerrymandering Case May Let GOP State Legislatures Control Federal ElectionsDemocracy Now! (July 6, 2022).
Under Pressure to Act, Biden to Sign Executive Order on Abortion Access – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, July 8, 2022).
“Good. Now Declare It,” Says Rep. Ayanna Pressley as Biden Mulls Health Emergency for Abortion Rights – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, July 11, 2022).
The New Era of Rightwing Judicial Supremacy – Bill Blum (The Progressive, August 1, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Michele Goodwin: Quote of the Day – May 3, 2022
The Sad Fate of Amy Comey Barrett
Progressive Perspectives on Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Amy Comey Barrett and the Republican Effort to Cement Minority Rule
Charlie Stuart: Quote of the Day – September 28, 2020
Hold Them to Their Word
Laura Bassett: Quote of the Day – Octiber 5, 2018
Insightful Perspectives on the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing

Opening image: Michael de Adder

No comments: