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How the Supreme Court abortion ruling changes health care

Two Americas

Louisiana, Kentucky, and South Dakota have laws that immediately ban most abortions. Another 13 states have so-called trigger laws, meaning abortions can be restricted or banned within a month, some by certificates from attorney generals who have indicated they intend to sign. Only five of them contain exceptions for rape and incest.

Other states still haveroe laws on the books that could be raised with legal action or ongoing legal battles that could lead to abortion restrictions within months. Within the next few months, nearly half of the states could see new abortion restrictions. And even among the 27 states with legal abortion, questions remain.

“It’s going to be a real nightmare,” said Greer Donley, an assistant professor of reproductive health at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. “Literally, all I do all day is think about the abortion law. It’s my only job. And there are questions I cannot answer.”

Providers in states with rapidly emerging abortion bans struggle with what to do without breaking the law.

“I don’t want to go to jail. I don’t want to break the law,” Giovannina Anthony, one of the two abortion providers in Wyoming, told our Megan Messerly. “But I also can’t imagine a patient who has been raped or abused and who is pregnant and calls for help and says to her like a gynaecologist: ‘Sorry, you’re on your own.’ It’s just awful.”

the next fight

President Joe Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra have been quick to mention another option — mifepristone, the abortion pill — in the wake of the news. Biden said he would instruct HHS to increase the availability of the Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, while Garland said states can’t ban it due to FDA approval.

But it may not be that simple. It is already difficult for people to get the pills, which are approved for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Even before the Roe upheaval, 19 states had banned the use of telehealth for abortion, a way that will be critical for people in restrictive states.

And as we’ve seen before, access to an FDA-approved substance can be restricted in many ways without banning it completely — a move that would certainly go to court. The Trump administration demanded that people collect the drugs in person, a rule Biden’s HHS reversed last year. States could also criminalize possession or receipt of the drug, although that could also face legal challenges, said an FDA expert who requested anonymity to speak out.

Roe v. Wade was also a precedent yesterday, but is not today,” said the expert. “How safe is a precedent by any principle if someone can find a court to say otherwise?”

And then the fights after that

Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a… unanimous opinion released Friday that the court must “reconsider its previous rulings on the right to contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage,” report POLITICO’s Quint Forgey and Josh Gerstein.

The majority of the courtwritten by Judge Samuel Alito, repeatedly says the decision to waive roe poses no threat to other precedents, but Democratic politicians have been warning for weeks that the new conservative majority won’t stop here.

The court’s liberal minority agrees. In a dissenting opinion, Judges Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote that the constitutional right to abortion “does not stand alone…Rather, for decades the Court has linked it to other settled freedoms related to physical integrity, family relationships and reproduction.”

‘A step back’

That’s what more than half of Americans called the Supreme Court ruling CBS survey published over the weekend – 20 percent more than those who called it a step forward.

That’s a problem for the GOP, which has fought for decades for this moment and now has to face the uneasy reality of arriving months before a critical election.

Strategists on both sides of the aisle say the court’s decision doesn’t change the chances of Republicans taking back the House. But the silence of some of the House’s most threatened Republicans speaks volumes, report POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick. Although House Republicans in battlefield states embrace the party’s anti-abortion stance, several were not immediately excited to talk about their historic victory.

Democrats say this is because they know they are about to lose ground with women and moderates in the suburbs and purple states. Revs, of course, now have a wave of outrage to drive into an election that would otherwise be a slog for them.

As a former Republican congressman familiar with the party’s campaign operation told our David Siders, “Everything went to our liking. Gas is over $5. Inflation is a huge problem.”

And maybe two steps back for people of color

Black individuals seek abortion more often than other races or ethnicities in the US, according to: CDC data† Alito noticed so much in his opinion last week.

As Keisha Blain writes in POLITICO Magazine, the loss of access to safe and legal abortions in many states is likely to increase the number of mothers in America and the disproportionately high maternal mortality among black women, especially that is the result of decades of racist and discriminatory practices in health care.

Those denied access to abortion are not only more likely to die poor healthwrites Blain, but are also more likely to live in povertyincreasing social and health inequalities in the country.

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