Here's what happening in US abortion news
On January 21st, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were inaugurated into office, allowing many Americans to take their first real deep breath in four years. Believe it or not, though, the Inauguration wasn't the only news item in the US last week (there's still a pandemic). Read on for a round up of the latest happenings in reproductive rights.
- Roe V. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, turned 48 on January 22nd. While abortion remains technically legal, it's important to keep in mind that it's inaccessible to many, particularly BIPOC and low income folks. In a recent Instagram post, Reproaction reminded us that Roe is "the floor, not the ceiling," and we must continue to fight for destigmatized and accessible abortion for all who seek it.
- In totally unsurprising news, anti choicers continue to be triggered by abortion rights milestones like Roe. In Kansas, lawmakers pushed forward on upending a 2019 decision that classified abortion access as fundamental in the state's Bill of Rights. (Students for Life, a national anti-abortion group, became involved in Kansas's political races for the first time around this particular issue.) If the measure is approved by the Kansas Senate, it will be on the ballot for voters to contend with in August 2022.
- After some athletic organizing by pro-choice groups, the 2021 March for Life, scheduled for January 29 in Washington, DC, was cancelled (although they're still meeting up on-line). The cancellation is a departure from the behavior we've seen by anti-choice groups during the pandemic, who insisted on holding a major conference in Florida of all places in September 2020. In spite of the March for Life cancellation, a group of anti-choicers joined up in San Francisco on January 23 for the Walk for Life, many, ironically, without masks.
- The Biden and Harris's agenda focuses on undoing the damage done by the Trump administration, there's much to contend with from the anti-choice movement and the lawmakers who support them. On Roe v. Wade's anniversary, the White House issued a statement affirming its support for reproductive rights, and Biden has already begun to actualize that by revoking the Mexico City Policy, otherwise known as the Global Gag Rule, a policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions.
There's no question that it's great news to see the new administration voicing a commitment to reproductive rights and starting to follow through, but it's vital to hold it accountable to continuing to expand abortion access. That means repealing the Hyde Amendment, revoking the SCOTUS decision that requires folks to pick up abortion pills in person during a pandemic, and knowing and taking action around what's going on in your state re: fake clinics, abortion restrictions, including waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and more.