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What If Roe v Wade is Really Reversed?

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, May 10th, 2022 - 35 comments
Categories: abortion, feminism, health, us politics - Tags:

It is no mere hypothetical to inquire whether States, as soon as the reversal of Roe v Wade is confirmed, start to aggressively go after kinds of contraception.

The state of Louisiana is considering making the criminalised charge of abortion applicable to when life starts, and then define when life starts as fertilisation.

That would head towards making criminal for murder those who had IUD’s implanted, or other devices, or Morning After Pill, which may reverse very, very early stage gestation. That is, heading towards the criminalisation of contraception itself.

As this useful interview with the Attorney General of Mississippi points out, such states who seek to ban most types and gestation periods of the foetus will need to double down on resources put into making it easier for babies born to be adopted, and for those babies who are not then adopted to go to a much stronger foster care system. Mississippi is the state that brought the case to the Supreme Court this time.

Further myriad moral landmines then roll over the countryside.

The chipping-away of the power of the Roe precedent has occurred for decades. In the July 3 1989 judgement the United States Supreme Court announced a decision that delegated responsibility for regulating the availability of abortions to the discretion of individual states.

This decision was the result in significant respects of the success of the Reagan regime in appointing a series of like-minded conservative judges to the Supreme Court. The appointment of those judges including O’Connor and Scalia to contest a past liberalism of the Supreme Court, is just one instance that has got us to this (likely) much stronger judgement. It’s taken 23 years – particularly Trump’s 3 S.C. appointments – and the United States Supreme Court now has stronger conservative majorities for stronger conservative judgements.

It is not the case that the United States will henceforth fracture into a series of barely connected states divided by high walls of moral and legal force. The United States is far more deeply integrated than ever over the last 50 years; by motorway, cheap airline, multiple networks of social media, by common real-time information, by more dominant mainstream media, by Zoom, by far greater concentration of corporate power, by ever-tighter ideological scope in its politics, and of course by greater connection in health insurance policy by Obamacare.

Nor is it necessarily the case as phrased by Pete Buttigieg that the United States is at a “high water mark” of the liberal expansion of freedom in its permissive forms. It’s now easier to frame the United States as becoming more of an outlier in global abortion policy than a leader.

Nor indeed that there will necessarily be a great liberal revival as a consequence. Both Me Too and Black Lives Matter are now barely registering ideological blips with only marginal impact on just one of the mainstream parties.

What will start to occur however is a far greater legal and criminal distinction between how states treat abortion.

Once the decision is confirmed, between 23 and 26 states have legislation on the books that is ‘triggered’ to come into effect as soon as possible.

The Guardian and Politico have slightly different takes on the immediate consequences for states.

Mitch McConnell is very clear that the next step is to ban abortion across the entire United States at a Federal level and is also clear that goal is achievable.

That means, probably, see if they get a supermajority in the November mid-terms to roll over any opposition from the Presidency. Then see off the remaining opposition in the Supreme Court. That’s a very real extension to this current rollback.

Until such a nationwide ban is achieved, abortion-supportive states may get into conflict with abortion-restrictive states if they are seen to aid and abet otherwise criminalised activity crossing their borders.

No one yet knows where this will end, but the direction is clear.

35 comments on “What If Roe v Wade is Really Reversed? ”

  1. AB 1

    states who seek to ban most types and gestation periods of the foetus will need to double down on resources put into making it easier for babies born to be adopted, and for those babies who are not then adopted to go to a much stronger foster care system.

    Unlikely to happen. The burden would probably be thrown back onto unsupported mothers. And why not – it produces a pipeline of vulnerable children ripe for sexual and commercial exploitation by the Christian heretics who run these States.

  2. joe90 2

    No one yet knows where this will end, but the direction is clear.

    Meet the man on a mission to impose his world view.

    WHAT LEONARD LEO wants you to know about Leonard Leo, first and foremost, is that he is a Knight of Malta. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) is a lay Catholic order that claims descent from the Knights Hospitaller, founded in Jerusalem in 1099, at the end of the First Crusade. It’s an extremely selective group. Of the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, only 13,000 are Knights of Malta—although most of them don’t go around bragging about it.


  3. DS 3

    That means, probably, see if they get a supermajority in the November mid-terms to roll over any opposition from the Presidency. Then see off the remaining opposition in the Supreme Court. That’s a very real extension to this current rollback.


    To overcome Biden's veto means 2/3 of the Senate and House. There are 14 Democrats up for re-election in the Senate (vs 20 Republicans). Even if the Republicans were to win every Democratic seat, that puts them on 64 Senate seats, still short of 2/3.

    So no. The Republicans are not going to win a super-majority.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    It is Americans “wot dun it” to themselves again unfortunately. A country founded on genocide, an economy kick started on forced slave labour and violent union busting, with residual racism keeping the working class divided.

    It is sickly amusing to see a country with numerous religious half brains targeting other religious groups over “Sharia Law” as they attack US womens rights. Do conservative women have abortions? well the statistics that I sighted online earlier say they do.

    Approx 50 million women have had abortions since Roe v Wade and they cannot have all been liberals when you look at the breakdowns by state, region, age, religious faith etc.

    Hopefully there can be some point of unity among women on this across religious, political and social lines.

  5. Gosman 5

    There seems to be a mismatch between claims that the right to access abortion has broad support in the US and the view that there is a steady move to make it illegal across the entire USA at not just individual State but at a Federal level as well. This seems like it should be the ace up the sleeve for the Democrats and they should be itching to get a mass movement voting for their candidates to protect abortion rights across the nation.

    • Craig H 5.1

      It's a surprisingly fringe issue in terms of actually changing someone's vote. There is a very vocal minority of Republicans for whom it's all-consuming, but it's unlikely they would vote for anyone else anyway, and for those wanting to retain the Roe v Wade status quo, most of them are sufficiently pro-Democratic (or anti-Republican) that this won't change their vote, just solidify it.

      It's also very easy to vote Republican where this doesn't directly affect people, and if it ever does, the more well-off will be able to spend their way out of it e.g. pay for travel to another state or country.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        This issue for the Democrats is that the GOP has tied up many of what should be traditional Democratic party supporters i.e. "White" Blue collar workers and this issue gives an these people a pause for thought in terms of where their vote goes especially if what you claim happens actually does happen (i.e. wealthy people get around abortion restrictions by getting it in other States).

        • Craig H

          Travelling interstate or internationally for abortion doesn't come up much currently in the USA because the main impediments are distance to the nearest facility and cost, rather than illegality, and neither of those are serious barriers to anyone with some money.

          Travelling between countries to procure abortions has recent examples from elsewhere e.g. from Ireland to England before Irish constitution changes in 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland has a section about it. Not sure about it being restricted to the wealthy specifically, just that some means are required to do it, so it's not really an option for the poor.

  6. Craig H 6

    In addition to the obvious rights issues, a major issue that arose historically with criminalising abortion was legislatures overly criminalising matters, particularly in cases where the foetus isn't viable and/or the mother's life is in danger e.g. ectopic pregnancies (0% survival rate of the foetus and serious complications for the mother), and cases where the foetus has died but the legislation has not been written with that in mind, so mothers and doctors are criminalised for removing those foetuses, or even miscarriages and stillbirths in some egregious cases.

    I haven't seen anything personally to suggest that American states considering abortion bans will take any of that into account in their approaches, which is distressing and concerning.

    • Incognito 6.1

      … e.g. ectopic pregnancies (0% survival rate of the foetus and serious complications for the mother) …

      When one is wearing a legalistic hat, this needs further elaboration. Life births after ectopic after (undiagnosed) ectopic pregnancies have been reported, but they are rare occurrences, partly because of the wrap-around care and early diagnosis, particularly in rich Western countries. There can indeed be serious complications for the woman depending on the location of the pregnancy and time of diagnosis. Assessing the viability of a pregnancy is not absolute nor as easy as you might think, particularly at the very early stages of pregnancy (which are not always picked up).

      • Craig H 6.1.1

        There's a reason why blanket bans are stupid and why NZ handled this in the past with medical assessments rather than prescriptive statements in legislation.

        • Incognito

          I agree and the Law should leave plenty of room for freedom, debate and interpretation by the people. Medical assessment should involve psychological and, in some cases, psychiatric assessment. Some folks appear to conflate Law and Dogma.

    • joe90 6.2

      I haven't seen anything personally to suggest that American states considering abortion bans will take any of that into account in their approaches

      They're going to make damn sure none of that is taken into account.

  7. Ghostwhowalksnz 7

    The Senate leader doesnt control the votes of his partys senators

    Obama found that out when briefly the democratic caucus had 60 senators during his first term , but even then 2 of them were independents

    In current senate GOP Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski support womens rights in the abortion area

  8. Anker 8

    Thanks for writing this post Ad.

    Interesting that so far it appears to me no women commenting on this thread.

    So while its good to know that men are concernd on women's rights on this issue, my experience on the Standard there is much less support for women who speak up on this site about how gender ideology effects womens rights. I am curious as to why this would be?

    IMO the effect on women and girls of gender ideology is far more problematic. Male bodied people in female sporting competitions winning our prizes and scholarships. Male bodied people able to access female change rooms (and show their genitals with impunity) around women and girls (normally of course this is regarded as a sex crime). Female prisioners in the States becoming pregnant because male bodied people are incarcerated in female prisons.

    Today on Open Mike Weka posted a link about a dangerous murdered who killed tow people on the run and they are being reported as being a woman, when actually they are male bodied. They will be added to female crime stats and likly put in a women's prison.

    And the "don't say gay" bill that liberals are painting as anti LBGTQ rights. Its not. Its about ensuring teachers don't teach kids from kingergartin to grade 5 about gender identity. Because gender identity is just a belief system, a realitively new one. And It isn't age appropriately for anyone to discuss sex with kids under 8 years old. These is a huge fight in the States at the moment about this. Schools implementing policies for gender neutral toilets and covering up when a female student is raped by a boy in school toilets.

    • mpledger 8.1

      In 5th grade a child is 10-11 years old. A few girls would have started menstruating at that age. The term my child started school, they had an opposite sex friend and the kids would chant to them "X and Y are in the shower, having sex for hours and hours". Eight is way too late to be giving kids sex-positive education when they have already had many years of playground junk.

      • Anker 8.1.1

        My apologies, a mis print on my behalf. It is third grade, not fifth grade.

        I am not sure where your childs class mates got their information from: the internet, parents; kindergarten teaching?

        You seem to be saying that because kids are exposed to this, we should throw out all we know about age appropriate learning and teach it anyway.

        If you child is being teased/bullied in this way, surely the answer is to teach kids schools how to deal with teasing and bullying? Its a bit like if kids were being offered drugs in school, lets teach them all about drugs (although I concedd it is not quite the same)

        • mpledger

          I am saying that I disagree with what you define as age appropriate.

  9. SPC 9

    That is, heading towards the criminalisation of contraception itself.

    That needs a rewrite.

    As per the national level government involvement, this is more likely to be based on federal agency action (POTUS direction) as per the inter-state issue (divergence of state law).

    • Ad 9.1

      I drew the point from the Louisiana example: as of this week that state has now voted on it.

      Louisiana Law Would Ban Abortion from Conception, Punishable as Murder (newsweek.com)

      Next step is a House Floor vote.

      • SPC 9.1.1

        It all depends on how one defines contraception – traditionally it was of a design to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

        They pose making that post conception illegal, by definition that is not contraception – that which prevents conception.

        Thus no proposal to make barrier contraception illegal.

        Plan B One-Step contains the hormone levonorgestrel — a progestin — which can prevent ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. The morning-after pill is a type of emergency birth control (contraception)

        Two are contraception, the third the prevention of implantation is birth control (emergency action to prevent conception leading to pregnancy/implantation).

        What is distinguished here is the time between conception and pregnancy.

        • Ad

          There are even finer distinctions within that time.

          The Republicans will take each fraction, further and further each time.

          And there will be public debate about definitions of what constitutes a moral hazard, from child to foetus to zygote to reproduced cell, and beyond.

          Definitions won't hold this Republican campaign back now.

        • Incognito

          The moment of fertilisation. It is in Ad’s link.

  10. Populuxe1 10

    And of course states that criminalise abortion will see a lot of big corporations walking, particularly in tech where the top talent trends libertarian and really hates the state getting involved in their private life. In 2017 379 companies and employer organisations filed an amicus brief with SCOTUS urging them to support marriage equalisation for similar reasons. It seems unlikely there wouldn't be an identical move, especially as many big corporations have expressed a commitment to gender equality hiring.

  11. roblogic 11

    From a legal standpoint, it makes sense to normalise the law around this matter as the Roe precedent it quite flimsy, by my reading. If the US government intends for abortion to be legal they should have the balls to write it into the law, not rely on activist judges to do their dirty work.

    From a democracy standpoint, the Supreme Court is a weird political football that looks a bit like the House of Lords or the Privy Council. An unnecessary appendage to the legal system. If the US govt doesn’t like they way that certain laws are interpreted by the Courts then perhaps they should write better laws.

    From a moral standpoint, as a male I am on shaky ground here. But there is a concerning growth of late term abortions, aborting of those with genetic problems or disability, and even post partum “abortion” aka infanticide. These are intensely personal and painful decisions for the family involved. But the infant does not have a voice at all. OTOH states like Texas are treating women who miscarry as potential murder suspects. There has to be a moderate & compassionate way forward between these extremes.

    • Craig H 11.1

      One of the issues is that no matter how well a law is written, the US Supreme Court might interpret it as unconstitutional, and they change their mind over time. A simple example is application of the death penalty – it used to be legal in the USA for minors, and now it isn't, and it used to be legal for rape, and now it isn't (for the latter, this was a new interpretation of the 8th amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment).

      Roe vs Wade isn't just about abortion though, it also was the first time an implied right to privacy was found in the US Constitution via the 14th amendment, so vacating that now would be far-reaching in terms of other precedents based on that right.

      The 9th amendment is specific that there are other unenumerated rights besides those spelled out in the US Constitution, so it's not even the case from the current document that implied rights are automatically not a thing, despite that being an argument used by some.

      It's also not like there are no states that have codified legality of abortion as some have e.g. California.

      I agree that it's weird that these things change in some places by court precedents rather than legislative proceedings, but as above, even if the legislature wants to proactively do something, they may be prevented by court decisions anyway e.g. it's possible that this court will decide later that abortion is just unconstitutional in some sort of challenge to current permissive laws somewhere.

  12. Sabine 12

    What If Roe v Wade is Really Reversed?

    • the septic wards in the hospitals will be back
    • woman (female adult human) and girls (female child human) will die again self aborting with coat hangers, bleach, baseball bats to the tummy or falling down the stairs again
    • men will get fucked a lot less then they used too, maybe they will learn to use condoms, or have a vasectomy – but hey, not holding my breath on the use of condoms or the having a vasectomy
    • bring back baby drop boxes on churches
    • back alley abortions will come back too, and with that the need for septic wards
    • any womb-man using a online menstruation data tool and lives in the States should get the fuck of it, delete all data and start tracking their flows with a paper calendar and pen again, just like in the old days.
    • many people will again re-discover the meaning of the word 'woman' and 'female'
    • hopefully some with guts and care will organise in meatspace to again provide shelters for abused womb-mans, rape crisis centres for raped abused womb-mans, and abortion services for womb-mans in need. Because clearly no one else will. Just like in the old days.

    What if Griswold vs Conneticut is repealed? (birth control)

    Then womb-mans are back in the times of non – existance and back to back pregnancy if they are with a bloke who insists on his maintenance sex.

    As for the states making resources for unwanted babies and their even less cared for birthing bodies? Lol. Lol.

    Adoption, right , that is why everyone goes and buys a baby from a baby factory in the Ukraine or some other place where women are often very poor and have little to no other option to make money then sell breast milk, human eggs, or charge a bit for the womb rental. Just like good ferengi females.

    • Molly 12.1

      Those who are pro-life will find they lose loved ones to the 'joy of motherhood' when common pregnancy complications arise, and legal abortions are not available:

      • death of fetus at any time;
      • ectopic pregnancy;
      • cancer or other medical diagnosis that requires immediate treatment;
      • severe pre-eclampsia that puts the mothers life at high risk;
      • the overwhelming mental anguish of proceeding with a pregnancy while knowing the fetal development has been compromised to such a point it is not viable; giving birth to a child resulting from sexual assault, etc.

      There's an extremely long list of complications and mental health impacts that can be foreseen by even the most pro-life advocate if they bother to look.

      And if they did take time to consider them, then they may then develop further insight and realise that women rights advocates fully understand the impact of unwanted pregnancies on women's bodies, minds and well-being and this understanding forms the basis of their position.

      • Sabine 12.1.1

        someone said on twitter

        – the left in the US will lock womb-mans up with rapists and sexual criminals

        and hte right will force the same womb-mans to carry the child from their rapist to term and then co-parent with that rapist.

        the right – a womb-man is a vessel for the unborn

        the left – a womb-man is a birthing body.

        the womb-men in the US are fucked either way.

  13. Anker 13
    • 100% Sabine.
  14. Chris T 14

    Always surprises me how the US can be the one of the most forward thinking countries, while simultaneously being the most backward.

    Sad thing is it could actually happen.

    Return to back alleys and coat hangers and poor women bleeding to death.

    Sick stuff.

    Hopefully the brainier ones will win the argument.

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