Despite the dust kicked up by passage of the state’s Reproductive Health Act, New York took the proper critical action to fend off the Supreme Court’s threat to a woman’s right to choose.
A few weeks after Judge Brett Kavanaugh took the oath to become the newest Supreme Court justice, West Virginia and Alabama passed state constitutional amendments that could ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the New York Times News Service.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court will be answerable to the fate of Roe v. Wade, but it is a law built to withstand bumps in the road. Roe’s demise will begin on the state level, requiring the effort to push back to be nationwide and expansive.
Roe could also be decimated quietly by means of lower court decisions upholding more extreme anti-abortion laws. So, even if the Supreme Court doesn’t overturn Roe by its own devices, the lower courts could stealthily roll back women’s constitutional right to the procedure.
Conservative state policymakers since 2010 have been passing laws that are designed to draw lawsuits challenging their constitutionality and provide opportunities for at least one of these cases to reach a Supreme Court interested in rolling back abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which monitors reproductive rights.
The 424 abortion restrictions enacted in just the last eight years comprise more than a third of all abortion restrictions enacted since Roe was decided in 1973. Although some have been challenged in court, most are in effect, according to the institute’s website.
With passage of the Reproductive Health Act, women in New York don’t have to fear their reproductive rights will be taken away by a conservative Supreme Court bent on realizing President Donald Trump’s vow to terminate Roe v. Wade if he was elected. From now on, a woman’s most personal health decision will be between her and her doctor. Politicians will not dictate the terms.
The Reproductive Health Act will shield women from judges, lawyers and elected officials committed to stopping them from exercising their reproductive rights. It truly makes Roe v. Wade the law of the land in New York state.