WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 2, 2021: Women's March in Washington demanding continued access to abortion after the ban on most abortions in Texas, and looming threat to Roe v Wade in upcoming Supreme Court.

How the Dobbs Ruling Will Affect People with Substance Use Disorder

By Hayfa Ayoubi and Karishma Trivedi

At the young age of 21, Regina McKnight unexpectedly suffered a stillbirth due to umbilical inflammation. She was a grieving mother, but to the state of South Carolina, she was a killer. In 2001, prosecutors charged McKnight with homicide allegedly caused by her use of cocaine while pregnant. The jury in the case returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for thirty minutes. It was not until years later in 2008 that her wrongful conviction was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court

Unfortunately, McKnight is one of many marginalized women of color who make up the majority of individuals criminally prosecuted for substance use during pregnancy. Now that the constitutional protection for abortion under Roe v. Wade has been overturned, more women like McKnight will have the full power of the state brought to bear on them through forced procedures, surveillance, and jail sentences solely because they happened to get pregnant. 

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Washington, DC USA May 3 2022: Protesters gather at the US Supreme Court after a report that the count will overturn Roe vs Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion.

An Ob/Gyn Reflects on Dobbs: ‘The Time Has Passed for Neutrality’

By Samantha DeAndrade

Last week, in response to a petition written by myself and colleagues, the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ABOG), which is headquartered in Texas, reversed its decision to pursue in-person board certification exams.

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, my colleagues and I held grave concerns about traveling to Dallas, Texas for this credentialing exam. We worried for our patients, our colleagues, and — though hard to admit it — ourselves.

In our petition, we cited concerns about the well-being of our pregnant colleagues who might encounter a pregnancy complication while in Texas and not have the full range of life-saving, evidence-based options available. We also expressed fear for our personal safety as abortion providers in a state where anti-abortion vigilantes are allowed to sue anyone who performs or assists in a pregnancy termination. It also felt wrong to contribute to the economy of a state that has passed the most restrictive abortion laws in recent history; a decision we know is about power and politics, not patient safety.

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Asbury Park, NJ - January 21, 2017: "My Body My Choice" sign at Women's March and worldwide protest.

The Only Moral Abortion is…

By Carmel Shachar

Since June 24, 2022, I have spent a lot of time thinking through the post-Roe legal and ethical landscape, both publicly and privately. Very often, the discussion is centered about the impact that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have on patients whose health or lives are threatened by their pregnancies — such as people with ectopic pregnancies, missed miscarriages with a high risk of sepsis, and preeclampsia — and the physicians who care for them.

These cases are, no doubt, important. But I am writing this piece to provide a counterpoint to this public discussion: abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible not only when the patient’s life or health is in danger. When we focus on the “blameless” abortions, such as the underage victims of incest, or the woman who wanted to be a mother but found out she has cancer that needs to be treated, we cede ground on this issue, by playing into the notion (whether knowingly or not) that some abortions are more justified or acceptable than others.

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Washington, DC, USA, May 5, 2022: people protest the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion

Reproductive Governance in a Post-Roe US: The Weaponization of Health Systems

By Alicia Ely Yamin

I was living and working in Peru in 2001, when Karen Noelia Llantoy discovered she was pregnant with an anencephalic fetus. Llantoy, a minor at the time, became profoundly depressed. Her own physician, a social worker, and a psychiatrist all concurred that she should have a termination, as anencephaly is a fatal brain defect that also poses an unnecessary risk to the mother’s physical health, and the pregnancy was having a severe impact on Llantoy’s mental health.

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Supreme Court of the United States.

Where Exactly Is the New Constitutional Line Between Abortion and Contraception?

By Einer Elhauge

The new Supreme Court decision in Dobbs overrules the right to abortion but repeatedly reaffirms the right to contraception. Whether that distinction can be justified under the Court opinion’s constitutional methodology has been the subject of much critique. Here, however, I wish to focus on a different question: just where is the new constitutional line between abortion and contraception after Dobbs?

The dissent takes the Court opinion to eliminate any constitutional right “from the very moment of fertilization.” But the Court opinion never says so, and for good reason. The Court’s analysis rests heavily on the fact that the lion’s share of states banned abortion “at all stages of pregnancy” at the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. The state statutes on which the Court relied for this conclusion were all limited to terminations of “pregnancy” or efforts to procure the “miscarriage” of a pregnant woman.

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Washington, DC, USA, May 5, 2022: people protest the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion

Stemming Supreme Court Rights Reversals

By James G. Hodge, Jr.

Based on the May 2022 leak of an initial draft, most believe the Supreme Court will carry through some rescission of abortion rights later this month through its final opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Already, concerns have arisen over other freedoms the Court may seriously reconsider down the road, including rights to gay marriage, intimacy, contraception, and informational privacy.

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Black and white photograph of the front of the Supreme Court. Pro-abortion protestors stand holding signs, one of which reads "I stand with Whole Woman's Health"

A Brief History of Abortion Jurisprudence in the United States

By James R. Jolin

POLITICO’s leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests that U.S. abortion rights are on the verge of a fundamental shift.

If the official decision, expected this month, hews closely to the draft, the constitutional right to abortion affirmed in Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and other seminal Supreme Court rulings will disappear.

This brief history of abortion rights and jurisprudence in the United States aims to clarify just what is at stake in this case.

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Washington, DC, USA, May 5, 2022: people protest the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion

The Leaked Dobbs Opinion, Explained

By Chloe Reichel

On May 2, 2022, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which showed the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn the right to abortion as decided in Roe v. Wade.

In response to the leak, the Petrie-Flom Center hosted a discussion with legal historian and Daniel P.S. Paul Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law Mary Ziegler and Petrie-Flom Center Faculty Director, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law, and Deputy Dean I. Glenn Cohen.

Together, Cohen and Ziegler explained the background of the case, the contents of the draft opinion, and its potential implications not just for abortion access, but also for other constitutionally-protected rights, and for access to reproductive technologies, such as in-vitro fertilization.

The highlights of the conversation have been edited and condensed below.

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Hand holding glass ball with inverted image of surroundings reflected in ball.

Flipping the Script: Adoption and Reproductive Justice

By Kimberly McKee

Adoption is a reproductive justice issue. Pretending otherwise ignores how adoption is used as a red herring in anti-abortion arguments. A recent invocation of this faulty logic occurred in Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s questions during the November 2021 oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Coney Barrett’s statements implied that the option to relinquish infants vis-à-vis adoption rendered abortion availability unnecessary. This line of thinking is one with which I am familiar, as both a Korean international, transracial adoptee, and a critical adoption studies scholar. 

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