On Dec. 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard arguments on a Mississippi abortion ban that blocks abortions 15 weeks after conception. The court expressed willingness to uphold the ban, which could effectively reverse Roe v. Wade.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little passed a law in 2020 banning abortion in Idaho, that will be triggered into effect instantly if the Supreme Court allows state power over abortion access. He also joined several other governors in signing a notice for the Supreme Court advocating for the rights of pro-life states and asking them to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Advocates for safe legal access to abortion argue that restricting the right to choose what is best for the health and life of parents has serious consequences not only for the parent but also for children.
“Restrictive abortion laws can potentially collapse the entire child welfare system in the United States of America,” said Selena Sanchez, a graduating senior with a double major in political science and criminal justice.
Unwanted pregnancies affect poor communities disproportionately, and that disparity will continue to grow as access to abortion becomes more restricted. Additionally, fewer abortions mean more children born into situations where they may experience abuse, neglect and years in a foster care system with waning resources, according to Sanchez.
Some elected officials are calling for voters to turn out and protect abortion rights by electing legislators that will protect those rights in law, as the courts may no longer uphold them on a federal level.
“One of the most crucial things that you can do as a voter or a political participant would be to vote in those local elections,” Sanchez said. “It seems as though abortion and anything that falls under that purview is probably going to be left up to the states.”
The Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, has continued to signal they are open to reexamining abortion and overturning Roe v. Wade, such as when they dismissed an emergency request to block a Texas abortion ban that went into effect Sept. 1, 2021.
While abortion remains a divisive topic, with Americans closely split on pro-choice and pro-life identities, the majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal at least under some circumstances.
“Idaho politicians claim to support individual freedoms, while ruthlessly attacking the right of a pregnant person to access the full spectrum of safe and legal reproductive health care,” Mistie DelliCarpini-Tolman, Idaho State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates said in a statement. “Despite these attacks, we want our patients and the public to know that our doors stay open.”
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mississippi’s case by the summer of 2022.