January 22, 2022
It was an early morning in December when the U.S. Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) first heard the case involving a Texas law limiting when a person could get an abortion. Roe v Wade was heard first in 1971 and again in 1972, but the Supreme Court finally decided on January 22, 1973. They ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to privacy and that a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion falls within that right to privacy.
Today we face a similar position – a law limiting when a pregnant person can get an abortion. Forty-nine years later, it is again left to the Supreme Court to determine if a pregnant person has the right to choose when to have an abortion. In short, the Dobbs v. Jackson case is asking to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The data is clear: Americans support Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to access abortion. In fact, over 79% of Americans support some system of choice for abortion seekers.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is projected that roughly 25 million women and girls of reproductive age will lose abortion access entirely in the United States. Safe and legal abortions would virtually be unavailable for one-third of people ages 15–49 who may need it.
These estimates are based on populations in more than 20 states that have a combination of pre-Roe v. Wade bans referred to as “trigger bans” that will automatically make abortion illegal if the Court’s decision overturns Roe v. Wade or interprets it more narrowly.
In New Mexico, we are fortunate the “trigger ban” is no longer in effect. In 2021, the SWLC worked with allies to repeal a pre-Roe bill criminalizing abortion in New Mexico. Repealing the ban means that even if the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision for Dobbs overturns Roe v. Wade, pregnant people in New Mexico will still have access to legal and safe abortions. On this 49th anniversary of the decision of Roe v. Wade, it’s uneasy to think we as a country are in this precarious position. However, we are lucky to have a forward-thinking legislature in New Mexico that supports women’s rights and autonomy.