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GOP-Led States Passing Anti-Abortion Laws Ahead Of Looming SCOTUS Decision

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Republican-led states are making moves months before the highly expected decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade, the decades-old precedent that legalized abortion.

CNN published a report whining that Republicans are passing a slew of anti-abortion laws in many states and that Democrats are not doing anything to stop them.

“When three red states finalized severe restrictions on abortion over consecutive days last week, they highlighted the GOP’s rising militancy on the issue — and the political and legal calculations underpinning it,” the report began.

“Separate actions last week in Oklahoma, Florida, and Kentucky made clear the red state drive to retrench or eliminate, access to abortion is escalating as the Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority nears a decision, expected in late June, in which it is widely anticipated to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion,” it added.

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“The abortion restrictions these states approved last week all denied exceptions for victims of rape or incest — a provision that was once a common feature of conservative anti-abortion proposals but has been jettisoned almost completely in the wave of new restrictions approved since 2021. The Oklahoma legislation banned nearly all abortions from the moment of conception and imposed severe penalties on doctors who perform them, including up to 10 years in jail. The Kentucky bill, continuing an offensive already underway in several other red states, prohibited state residents from obtaining medication abortion through the mail, as the federal Food and Drug Administration authorized late last year,” the CNN report continued.

“We are seeing this pattern because the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has signaled that it is ready to reverse Roe. Now, we are getting a sense of what red states really want to do when Roe is gone. That is why we are seeing bans from fertilization — as in Oklahoma — and laws that focus on abortion pills, which will be crucial in determining whether bans will be effective,” the report stated.

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a Mississippi law that would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks.

During oral arguments back in December, Justice Clarence Thomas asked U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar if she could point to what specific right Roe v. Wade protects in the Constitution, comparing the request to the “right to bear arms” found in the Second Amendment.

Thomas asked, “Would you specifically tell me, specifically state, what the right is? Is it specifically abortion? Is it liberty? Is it autonomy? Is it privacy?”

“The right is grounded in the liberty component of the 14th Amendment, Justice Thomas,” Prelogar stated. “But I think it promotes interests in autonomy, bodily integrity, liberty, and equality. I think it is specifically the right to abortion here, the right of a woman to be able to control without the state forcing her to continue a pregnancy whether to carry that baby to term.”

“I understand we are talking about abortion here,” Thomas rebutted. “But what is confusing is that we — if we were talking about the Second Amendment, I know exactly what we are talking about. If we’re talking about the Fourth Amendment, I know what we’re talking about because it’s written. It is there. What specifically is the right here that we are talking about?”

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“Well, Justice Thomas, I think that the court in those other contexts, with respect to those other amendments, has had to articulate what the text means and the bounds of the Constitutional guarantees,” Prelogar tried to explain. “And it has done so through a variety of different tests that implement First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, and Fourth Amendment rights.”

“I don’t think there is anything unprecedented or anomalous about the right that the court articulated in Roe and Casey, and the way it implemented that right by defining the scope of the liberty interest by reference to viability and providing that’s the moment when the balance of interest tips and when the state can act to prohibit a woman from getting an abortion, based on its interest in protecting fetal life,” she added.

“So the right, specifically, is abortion?” Thomas responded.

“The right of a woman, prior to viability, to control whether to continue with a pregnancy, yes,” Prelogar answered, ending the questioning.

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