This week on CounterSpin: Many people will know that the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973, enshrining women’s right to access abortion—to choose when and whether to have a child. It seemed to signal recognition that abortion is healthcare, that most women who have abortions are mothers (in other words, they don’t need to have an ultrasound to recognize what’s happening), that medical reality and theology are not the same, and that outlawing abortion doesn’t stop it, but just pushes women to have unsafe abortions.
Less often considered is how immediately after Roe, Congress passed the Hyde amendment, taking this fundamental human right out of the hands of women who rely on government assistance—so low-income, overwhelmingly women of color. Hyde acknowledged that they wanted to outlaw abortion for all women, but poor women were the only ones they had legal standing to control. That cynical approach proved effective, as Americans watched the ability to access abortion chipped away, with wait times, parental notification rules, hospital credential requirements, clinic closings, funding cutoffs for international groups—all the while comforted by the notion that the “right” to abortion was somehow still legally protected.
That narrative is exploding right now in the wake of the Supreme Court’s refusal to address, which amounts to an endorsement, what is overwhelmingly understood as an unconstitutional Texas law offering a bounty on anyone who “aids and abets” a woman seeking an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
We’ll talk with Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and author of, among other titles, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues.
And we’ll revisit a conversation from January of this year about what law can and can’t do, with Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of the group URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity.
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This content originally appeared on FAIR and was authored by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.