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Obviously abortion rights are on everybody’s mind this week. The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision overturning Roe is horrifying but not surprising.
One argument that’s touched on in the draft opinion – an argument many anti-choice activists and politicians have been making for decades – is that abortion’s legality should be decided by the legislature of each state, not by the federal government. “Let each state decide.”
Their bad faith is as subtle as a herd of elephants. Republicans in Congress have never hesitated to use federal law to limit abortion access nationwide – such as when they passed the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban. Every member of the Supreme Court, and every Republican in Congress, knows that without Roe in their way they’re going to propose more nationwide bans.
But no matter what they do – and they will do enormous harm – this is not the end of abortion access in America.
…People who want to end a pregnancy [won’t] be completely without options. Abortion funds around the country would continue their work, in some cases helping patients travel to blue states to get the procedure. Community-based providers, who perform abortions outside the official medical system, would likely continue to operate. And self-managed abortion, in which people perform their own abortions with pills, would take a bigger role.
Preparing for that reality will require a lot from advocates and providers, from raising money to campaigning against laws that can send people to jail for self-managing an abortion. But people have been ending their pregnancies in America since long before Roe v. Wade or even abortion clinics existed, and a court decision isn’t going to stop them. It’s just going to change what their options — and the risks involved — look like.
In pragmatic terms, abortion bans can never truly ban abortion; but they can make abortion less available and more dangerous. That’s something anti-abortion activists seem perfectly comfortable with.
UPDATE: FromThe Washington Post, 9/7/2022:
Many Republican foes of abortion celebrated the ruling as a victory for states’ rights. Yet since Alito’s draft opinion was leaked on May 2, 28 lawmakers have also signed onto a proposed nationwide ban — one that would impose abortion restrictions even in Democrat-led, pro-abortion rights states.
This would seem to be a direct contradiction to the idea that states could chart their own course. Blue states that have less restrictive laws in place suddenly would find those laws overridden by a federal law.
Abortion is way too large an issue to cover in one cartoon, and this cartoon is obviously narrowly focused on one specific wrinkle. I’m sure I’ll be producing more cartoons about abortion rights in the months ahead.
No promises (I’m not very good at controlling where my inspiration goes), but if there’s a particular facet of abortion rights you’d like to see a cartoon about, feel free to let me know in comments.
I’m not at all sure it comes across, but attempting to draw 1980s hair in panel one was so much fun. And yes, Reagan’s campaign did use the slogan “Let’s make America great again.” (The only thing Republicans believe in recycling is ideas.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene, with a different person or group of people talking to the viewer.
A man with a “Reagan ’80: Make American Great Again” t-shirt and blonde hair in a mullet is talking with a somewhat angry expression, raising a forefinger to make his point. Next to him, a concerned-looking woman with a leather jacket and ENORMOUS hair is speaking with her hands clasped together.
CAPTION: 40 years before Roe v Wade is overturned.
MAN: Roe is wrong! Abortion is too important for the federal government to decide for everyone.
WOMAN: We should leave it to the states.
A woman stands alone in front of a sidewalk; behind her is a patch of grass, a couple of trees, and a stone wall. She’s wearing a red skirt with a pattern of circles, and a t-shirt that says “GORE is a BORE.” She’s smiling and talking with her palms out.
CAPTION: 20 years before Roe is overturned.
WOMAN: Without Roe, every state could make its own abortion policies.
WOMAN: Which is how it should be!
This panel shows a crowd of white men. All of the men are wearing dress shirts, jackets, and neckties, except for one man who is in “Tea Party” cosplay, including a tricorn hat, although I’m not sure that anyone can tell it’s a tricorn hat because it turns out that tricorn hats are hard to draw.
In the center of the panel, one man is grinning big and speaking to the readers. He has glasses and parted blonde hair.
CAPTION: 10 years before Roe is overturned.
MAN: Let the states decide. That’s all we’re saying.
A man and a women, both dressed in gender-typical business wear, are speaking to reporters; the reporters aren’t in panel, but we can see their hands holding microphones, which are pointed at the speakers. We can see in the background that we’re on the steps of some sort of fancy, large building with pillars and arches (I’m hoping people will see that and assume it’s a government building of some sort).
The man is smiling big and holding a little stack of papers. The woman is clasping her hands and speaking with an earnest expression.
CAPTION: Ten minutes after Roe is overturned.
MAN: Our new law bans abortion nationwide.
WOMAN: Abortion’s too important to be left to the states!