How U.S. States Can Protect Abortion Rights
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to overturn the right to abortion, state abortion protections matter more than ever.
If the U.S. Supreme Court takes away the constitutional right to abortion, people throughout the United States will be left with no federal protections for abortion rights. And while 22 states currently protect abortion rights, at least 25 states are expected to take action to ban abortion—which would leave people in those states with no abortion protections at all.
Defending the right to abortion at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
The Court is expected to issue its ruling in this consequential abortion rights case by the end of its term in June 2022.
In “How States Can and Should Protect Abortion Rights and Access,” an article published by Ms., Elisabeth Smith, Director, U.S. State Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, outlines the many steps states can take to strengthen legal rights and ensure that access to abortion is affordable, accessible, and free from harassment.
“To be clear: Every state has the power to enact laws and policies that protect its residents—as well as anyone who travels there to access abortion care,” says Smith.
The article is part of a series featured in “Beyond Roe: The Fight for Our Future,” recently launched by Ms. in partnership with the Center. Featuring essays, audio and video content, “Beyond Roe” examines policy and legal paths forward in the fight to secure reproductive autonomy now and after the Supreme Court issues its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the case in which Mississippi has asked the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade and find there is no constitutional right to abortion.
States have unique constitutions and court systems which allow them to guarantee abortion rights and reproductive autonomy independently from and more strongly than the U.S. Constitution. (See the Center’s recent report, “State Constitutions and Abortion Rights” to find out more.)
In “How States Can and Should Protect Abortion Rights and Access,” Smith highlights measures states can and should take to protect abortion rights and access, including:
State Constitutions and Abortion Rights: Building Protections for Reproductive Autonomy
Find out how state constitutions and court rulings have expanded abortion protections and how this jurisprudence can expand and shape efforts to secure reproductive rights.
- Supporting proactive ballot initiatives and state legislation.
- Expanding the number of trained providers to provide abortion care.
- Repealing parental notification laws so young people are empowered to make their own decisions.
- Making abortion care affordable through funding and medical insurance mandates.
- Preventing harassment of providers, staff, and patients at abortion clinics.
Smith encourages readers to urge their local and state elected officials to take action to secure abortion rights and access.
Are you protected in your state?
Is your right to abortion protected in your state? Find out with the Center’s “What if Roe fell?” tool, which analyzes each state’s abortion laws and policies.