What they see includes a more conservative US Supreme Court, 85 confirmed judges appointed by President Donald Trump who are reshaping the courts, and legislative bodies — both state and federal — transformed by a contentious midterm election.
They spoke of the more than 400-and-counting restrictions to abortion access that have been enacted at the state level since 2010 and vowed that this is not a time to stop fighting. Even though Roe v. Wade remains on the books, they said, some states forge ahead as if it has been overturned. They also discussed how barriers to abortion access effectively prohibit the procedure for many, especially for low-income populations, people of color and younger people.
Court rulings that deny restrictions simply get ignored or appealed, said Julie Rikelman, senior director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Sussman pointed out how three states — Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan — kicked out anti-abortion governors. And other states, including New York, Rhode Island and New Mexico, will be pushing to codify protections for abortion access.
“Voters did their jobs at the polls,” she said. “Now, we’re going to get to work to put their will into action.”
He and Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to side with the court’s liberals, signaling an effort to avoid high-profile abortion-related issues for now.
That said, both justices “likely have serious objections,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But such votes seem to be a signal that they would rather avoid contentious, high-profile disputes for now, at least where possible.”
A representative from Planned Parenthood insisted Monday that this was a case about Medicaid, not abortion, and that Kavanaugh’s “troubling record” showed he couldn’t be trusted.
Steven Aden, chief legal officer and legal counsel at Americans United for Life, also refused to take the Supreme Court decision as a sign.
“We’re not drawing any conclusions,” he said. “There are a number of reasons why the court could have elected not to take the case.”
Specifically, he highlighted four model pieces of legislation his organization has written that he hopes will gain traction next year across the country.
The Abortion Reporting Act seeks to require reporting of all abortion-related complications and emergencies, the idea being that the procedure is “practiced in the dark,” Aden said. “Only when such a system is in place will we finally be able to unmask the reality of abortion in America.”
The Women’s Health Defense Act seeks to ban abortions at or after 20 weeks of gestation, except in some cases of medical emergency. “Abortion at 20 weeks is 35 times more dangerous to a woman than carrying to term,” he said.
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act forbids selective abortions “seeking to target babies,” Aden said, based on prenatal diagnostic testing that shows the gender of the baby or a diagnosis such as Down syndrome.
Lastly, Aden pointed to the Unborn Infants Dignity Act, which he said “treats human lives in the womb as just that, human,” and requires “cremation or proper burial” of “miscarried, stillborn or aborted infants” and protection from “scientific experimentation.”
All of these efforts are precisely what proponents of abortion access are preparing to address. So the two sides can agree on this: No matter what shifts in the landscape, the hot topic of abortion won’t cool down in this coming year.
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.
News credit : Cnn