Abortion is a fundamental right. We should all be concerned about what restricting it will mean

Supreme Court braces for heated abortion battle with Mississippi case

The Mississippi law that limits abortions after 15 weeks is the most consequential abortion case since Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court will start hearing arguments on Wednesday in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which challenges an extreme law in Mississippi that bans abortion after 15 weeks with no exceptions. 

Taking swift action, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a bright pink clinic in the same town where I attended college, and the state’s only remaining abortion clinic, sued the state based on the unconstitutionality of the law. 

This Supreme Court case has been an important rallying point for reproductive rights advocates because the repercussions of this law from the South will be felt across every corner of the country

The stakes could not be higher. And in a time in which Republicans are looking to restrict rights, we know that these rights need to be protected. Put simply, this is a question of who can have an abortion, which means this is a question of who gets to make their own health care decisions and who can make their own choices about when and how to create a family. 

FILE – WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 01: Pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on November 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. 
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

We should all be concerned about what restricting this constitutional right, a person’s right to have control over their own bodies, will mean for all of us. And no matter what happens in the Supreme Court, we must vote to protect this vital right. 

Here are two reasons why. 

First and foremost, this incredibly difficult decision on whether or not to get an abortion is a personal matter. Voters already know and appreciate this–and don’t need politicians making these decisions for them. 

A recent ALG Research and Hart Research Associates study done for EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood and American Bridge 21st Century, took a sampling of voters in states in which Senate and/or gubernatorial races would take place in the upcoming year. Eighty percent of voters surveyed said they were more likely to vote for a Democrat who favors leaving abortion decisions up to pregnant people and their doctors, and only nine percent were more likely to support a Republican who favors making abortion illegal, including in early pregnancy. 

These were not just Democratic voters. This tells us that people enjoy and feel that they should have the right to choose, especially when the right has been settled. 

Secondly, losing this fundamental right is only the beginning. If you don’t think your state could turn into Texas or a place in which access could be stripped almost completely, you should think again.  If Roe is overturned, 36 states would be able to enact restrictions on abortion as extreme as the harmful ban we are already seeing in Texas. 

FILE – Abortion rights advocates hold signs in support of choice, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. The group challenged members of Operation Save America, an anti-abortion organization, who held a rally at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

And who do these restrictions harm disproportionally? The answer, as with most attempts to restrict reproductive rights, is people who are economically disadvantaged, often women of color. It’s people who can’t afford to miss a day of work to travel out of state. People who can’t afford to expand their family and are forced to do so.

What has, for years, been a threat is now our reality. And since this is no longer a drill and we see what’s truly at stake, we have to vote like it. We have to elect Democratic pro-choice women at every level of government who will protect our rights. 

Access to reproductive health care is a winnable issue for Democrats in the upcoming midterms. And every single politician, Democrat, Republican or independent must be asked where they stand on the issue. 

As a Mississippi native, a student of civil rights activists and an organizer myself, I understand the power that a group of people can have when they truly embrace that power. We have the power to elect leaders who will fight for the interests of the majority. 

If you’re asking yourself why that’s important, this case is your answer. 

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