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There’s No Running from the Horror of Alabama’s Anti-Abortion Law

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Republican-led states have been whittling away at the right to choose since the Supreme Court technically reaffirmed that right in a case called Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Casey upheld that core concept of Roe v. Wade—that women had a right to privacy over their reproductive choices—but invented a new standard that allowed states to severely restrict women’s options and autonomy over their own bodies. Over the past 27 years, Republican legislators and judges have carefully, almost surgically, turned abortions into a service that is technically legal but functionally unavailable in many of the states they control.

That is what was happening before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was replaced by Brett Kavanaugh. Now that the Republicans have successfully forced an alleged attempted rapist onto the Supreme Court, the surgical approach has been discarded. In its place, red states have adopted a sneering, combative attack on women’s rights befitting the man they hope will support them. It’s not a coincidence that the Alabama legislature passed a bill forcing rape victims to serve as unwilling incubators only now that a man accused of attempted rape sits on the high court. Kavanaugh’s personal controversy has always been a feature, not a bug, for these terrible people.

The hubris of Alabama, and Georgia—which passed the most restrictive “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban in the country before Alabama went all “hold my beer” on the issue—might backfire. These states think they’re laying a trap for Roe: lower courts will likely overturn these laws, leaving the Supreme Court to reanimate them and overturn Roe v. Wade in the process. But because of the excesses of these laws, progressives really only have one option. Spring the trap, and fight to the death for the rights of women.

Roe, in spirit, has already been defeated in vast parts of the country. Roe does not guarantee access to an abortion to anybody if there are enough Republicans in their state legislature, and it hasn’t for some time. It is a shell that has been systemically hollowed out on the inside. Smart Republicans like keeping Roe around, because they know it works as an effective boogeyman that keeps some segment of their Bible thumping base voting against their own interests. Meanwhile, even though 67 percent of the country (including 73 percent of independents and a whopping 81 percent of Democrats) don’t want to see Roe “overturned,” as long as Roe is not “overturned,” they seem to think the right to choose is more or less secure. Roe gives false hope to its supporters—not all, but enough—and inspires committed activism from its enemies.

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Thanks !

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