With multiple abortion cases at the Supreme Court and a continuing onslaught of anti-abortion restrictions sweeping the states, abortion is likely to come up in conversations about the news — including among friends and family during the holidays.
Here, we share a handy reference guide on this timely issue — full of the quick, crucial facts on abortion rights you’ll want to be equipped with if it comes up at your dinner table.
- Abortion is overwhelmingly safe
- The right to abortion is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans.
- Abortion is common. One in four women who are able to get pregnant will have an abortion at some point.
- Abortion is essential health care, a constitutional right, and a human right.
Abortion should be accessible to anyone who needs it. Period.
- When it comes to discussing abortion access, the focus should remain centered on the people who need, or will need, this critical care — and the direct harm forced pregnancy places on lives.
- Despite how anti-abortion politicians may frame it, forced pregnancy is not some political talking point: Forced pregnancy is taking away a person’s constitutional and human right to control their body and their future.
- Denying someone abortion care has devastating and lasting consequences for the pregnant person — it can jeopardize their health, economic well-being and ability to determine their own future, for not only themselves but their family.
Forced Pregnancy laws include:
- All bans on abortion
- Medically unnecessary restrictions designed to shut down clinics so that people have to travel further to get abortion care
- Creating medically unnecessary hoops to jump through in order to discourage and block people from getting an abortion
- Laws that require insurance plans to exclude abortion coverage
- Laws designed to run out the clock that force people to delay their abortion care
- Medically unnecessary laws that increase the cost of care but do nothing to increase patient safety
- Denying people under 18 years of age access to confidential care by requiring the consent of others
- While it has been a legal right for five decades, almost since the beginning politicians have passed laws that push abortion out of reach. The impact of those policies fall disproportionately on those struggling financially, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, undocumented people, young people, and LGBTQ people.
- Black, Indigenous, and other people of color do not have equal access to health care, from abortion to prenatal care to preventive care. Their concerns are often ignored or not taken seriously. They have worse outcomes for COVID-related health issues, higher rates of maternal and infant death, and are more likely to be investigated, prosecuted, and punished for their pregnancy outcomes.
- Some people have the resources to overcome the obstacles imposed by anti-abortion laws, but people with low incomes, young people and undocumented people are more likely to be forced to continue a pregnancy even if that’s not the outcome they want.
- Abortion access for all means ALL. Restrictions on abortion care directly impact transgender men and nonbinary people — and we’re fighting to protect the reproductive freedom of everyone who can get pregnant.
- Since January, states have introduced more than 560 medically unnecessary and politically motivated abortion restrictions. This year alone, more than 100 abortion restrictions were enacted — more than any time since Roe was decided.
- All of these attacks show anti-abortion politicians’ true agenda: To push abortion out of reach, shut down clinics, and criminalize patients and health care providers.
- Anti-abortion restrictions are chipping away at Roe, creating a web of barriers to safe and affordable abortion care and forcing people to remain pregnant against their will.
- The Supreme Court is considering several abortion cases right now. The decisions in these cases will have a tremendous impact on the availability of abortion in this country and even whether we continue to have any constitutional right to abortion at all.
The Mississippi case: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
- The state of Mississippi has asked the court to expressly overturn Roe v. Wade and take away the federal constitutional right to abortion. Full stop. It’s also possible that the court stops short of that but dramatically reduces our ability to get abortion care. The case will be argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights before the Supreme Court on Dec. 1.
The Texas cases: Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and U.S. v. Texas
- On Nov. 1, the court heard two cases challenging Texas’ extreme ban on abortion (SB 8): one brought by the ACLU and our coalition partners, and one brought by the Justice Department. Since Sept. 1, when the ban took effect and the Supreme Court initially declined to block the law, most Texans have been unable to access abortion in the state. And on Dec. 10, the Supreme Court once again refused to block the law from wreaking havoc in the state.
The Kentucky case: Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center
- SCOTUS is also considering whether to grant Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s last-minute request to intervene in a case in order to try to revive an abortion ban that two courts have already declared unconstitutional. The court’s ruling will determine whether Cameron is allowed to keep the case going to try to reinstate the ban.
No matter how the Supreme Court rules, we’ll continue to fight forced pregnancy laws because we all deserve the ability to get an abortion if we need one. We will continue urging Congress to enact safeguards for abortion rights by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would give us a new tool to fight many of these attacks on abortion access. And together with our partners, we will continue to use all of our tools to create and shore up other avenues to ensure that everyone who has made the decision to get an abortion can actually get the care they need, no matter where they live, how much money they have, or who they are.
Updated on December 10 to reflect the Supreme Court’s decision in two challenges against Texas’ abortion ban, SB 8.