Opinion | ‘You Cannot Stop Abortions’: Four Writers On the End of Roe v. Wade

6/25/2022 2:30:00 AM

Michelle Goldberg, Lauren Kelley and Leah Libresco Sargeant join Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss what comes next after Dobbs.

'Whether you want abortion to exist or not, it exists, and it is going to keep existing,” lauren_kelley tells michelleinbklyn, LeahLibresco and host lourdesgnavarro in this Opinion roundtable on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Michelle Goldberg, Lauren Kelley and Leah Libresco Sargeant join Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss what comes next after Dobbs.

Michelle Goldberg, Lauren Kelley and Leah Libresco Sargeant join Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss what comes next after Dobbs.Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Is ‘Catastrophic,' Liberal Justices Write in Furious Dissent What Did the Supreme Court Decide in 1973? The decision was released on Jan.Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Is ‘Catastrophic,' Liberal Justices Write in Furious Dissent What Did the Supreme Court Decide in 1973? The decision was released on Jan.gave a powerful speech about the reversal while meeting with media before the USWNT's match against Colombia.

Michelle Goldberg, Lauren Kelley and Leah Libresco Sargeant join Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss what comes next after Dobbs.Shuran Huang for The New York Times Roe has fallen.Justice Harry A.In a landmark ruling by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that it is time “to return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.Blackman wrote the majority opinion that found in a 7-2 ruling that Texas had violated McCorvey’s constitutional right to privacy.” In effect that means that millions of people – mostly in conservative states – will imminently lose access to abortion in America.Individuals have protected areas or zones of privacy that encompassed abortion, the justices found.The three liberal justices who dissented wrote “with sorrow” that “one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens."It doesn't keep not one single person safer.

” ‘We're Hurtling Into A Reactionary Future’ Times Opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg, Times Opinion editor Lauren Kelley and the writer Leah Libresco Sargeant discuss what comes next with Times Opinion podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro.A key was whether a fetus could survive outside a woman’s womb.A key was whether a fetus could survive outside a woman’s womb.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Michelle, I want to begin with you.What was your initial reaction when you heard the news? Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist Obviously I knew this was coming.The decision struck down laws that banned abortions before the point when a fetus can survive.I never had any hope that the leaked draft wasn't essentially what the Court was going to do, but I still really feel like I've been punched in the stomach.When Is Fetal Viability? At the time of the ruling in 1973, what is called fetal viability was at about 28 weeks.Even when I tried to remind myself that liberties are always frail and progress isn't eternal, it just feels like we have been cast back into a radically different nation than the one I expected to raise my children in.Medical advances since then have pushed the point to about 24 weeks." UPDATE The whole video is moving.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Lauren, you cover reproductive rights.Tell us what this decision means in plain English.Wade used trimesters to determine when a pregnancy could be regulated.Wade used trimesters to determine when a pregnancy could be regulated.It was a long decision, several dozen pages, but what does it actually mean? Lauren Kelley, Opinion editor It means that Roe v.Wade is fully overturned, which is both something that is so straightforward and simple in some way, but is also just absolutely remarkable.In the second, ones to protect a woman’s health were permitted, while in the third, abortions bans were allowed except if a mother’s life or health were at jeopardy.It was really very, very recent that we were told by many of the pundits in this country and experts who follow the Supreme Court that Roe v.A 1992 case, rejected the trimester framework but left the core of Roe v.

Wade would not be fully overturned.Wade intact.And it certainly wouldn't be overturned fully in an election year.I think as recently as just before the oral arguments for this Dobbs decision – December 1st I believe – the thinking was really: Well, there might be some sort of compromise.Over her lifetime, she was sent to a reform school, she married a man she said was abusive, she struggled with substance abuse and became involved with a woman named Connie Gonzales.Over her lifetime, she was sent to a reform school, she married a man she said was abusive, she struggled with substance abuse and became involved with a woman named Connie Gonzales.They might roll it back.But this full overturning just was not on the table in a lot of people's eyes.One child was raised by her mother, another had been placed for adoption.

And to just see that window shift so quickly in this last nine months or so.Later she became anti-abortion evangelical Christian and still later a Roman Catholic.It's just actually kind of dizzying.In 2009, she was arrested protesting President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame and disrupting Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination hearing.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Leah, you're opposed to abortion.And I'd like to get your reaction to today's ruling.In the documentary “AKA Jane Roe” she says of the anti-abortion movement: “I took their money and they put me out in front of the camera and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say.In the documentary “AKA Jane Roe” she says of the anti-abortion movement: “I took their money and they put me out in front of the camera and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say.What did you feel when it came down, even though you knew it was coming? Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms It's kind of dizzying.

The first protest march I ever went to was in utero with my mom, who took me to a pro-choice march.By the time the decision came down, she had had her child.So for me, this is an issue I've changed my mind about as I've grown up and as I've learned more about babies in the womb, and as I've thought more expansively about what support women need and deserve.That baby girl was also given up for adoption.So, it's good to see an opinion that undoes the injustice of Roe, but obviously we don't have a culture that fully supports women.This article tagged under:.I'd like this to be a day that everyone feels relief in the same way I hope we would if a different Supreme Court precedent, Buck v.Bell, had been stricken down, which legitimized incredible prejudice and involuntary sterilization of the disabled.

But I know this isn't a happy day for a lot of Americans and I just, I wish we had a culture that supported women more and gave people more reason to hope that we can take care of everyone who's vulnerable.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Leah, I just want to stay with you for a moment.And if you can explain to me, when you say that you changed your mind on this, what did that look like? Why have you landed where you have landed in your opinion? Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms So the thing I've agreed with the whole time is Ruth Bader Ginsburg wanted abortion upheld, not as a right to privacy, but as a right to equal protection under the law.And she made the case that abortion is really the price of admission to society we demand of women.And I think she's factually right.

That's what we ask of women.We don't support women when they're pregnant, even with wanted pregnancies.We don't support parents nationwide.We place heavy burdens on parents who are most vulnerable.TANF, which is support for needy families, has been hollowed out.

The child allowance didn't make it to parents who were the poorest.So it's true, you can look around and say, our culture has no room for the vulnerable.It doesn't have room for babies who are vulnerable and it doesn't have room for women who are vulnerable.So abortion is a crutch that lets us navigate that hatred of dependence that's pervasive in our culture.I think it's one more mark of a sexist society that we take the burdens we put on the vulnerable, then lay them heavily on women and demand an act of violence to have equal access to society.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Michelle, I just want to get your understanding of why you support a woman's right to choose.Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist Sure.I've often said that the question for me in abortion is not whether a fetus is a person, it's whether a woman is a person and a woman’s desire for equality.The fact that the state does not support dependency is one reason that women get abortions, but it is by no means the only reason.I'm sure I would agree with Leah that no woman should have to get an abortion because she can't afford a wanted pregnancy.

Although obviously today's decision does nothing to support the women who will now be forced to go forward with pregnancies that they either can't afford or desperately don't want.But there is just something so deeply invasive, degrading and dehumanizing about being forced to be pregnant against your will, about being forced to give birth, which is an experience of pain unlike any that most people will ever experience in their lives – it's a degree of pain that would be considered torture in any other circumstance – that the state can force you to do that, that it can force you to give up your body in a way that it would never force you to give up your house, in a way that it would never force you to give up an organ.You know, the state can't compel you to donate a kidney to save someone's life.It can't compel you to donate your blood, but it can compel you – it can take from you your bodily autonomy.It is just an invasion and there is no way around it.

I support all of the same policies that I'm sure Leah does, but none of those will ever change the fact that forced pregnancy and forced birth puts women in a position of second-class citizenship.And then there's a second-order concern, which is just that the regime necessary to sustain an abortion ban is invasive at best, and totalitarian at worst, because it's just going to require a massive amount of surveillance of women and their choices.In countries that ban abortion – and I've been to many of them – you constantly see miscarriages investigated and in some cases, criminalized, because the line between a miscarriage and an abortion is not clear.And so this is dangerous, not just for women who are going to affirmatively try to end unwanted pregnancies.It is dangerous for any woman who might get pregnant, period.

I'm past that, but I mourn the world that I'm leaving for my daughter.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast I'm gonna jump in and say this.I had an abortion.It was incredibly traumatic.It has left me with a very nuanced view of this issue, which I never felt the political rhetoric ever fully addressed: that I can at the same time support a woman's right to choose, and yet have very conflicted feelings about when and where that should happen.

And I know Lauren, you've been reporting on abortion for a long time and editing many writers on this topic and doing a huge amount of research and talking to women who've had abortions.And one of your takeaways has been that opinions on abortion in this country are very nuanced.Lauren Kelley, Opinion editor Sure, over the course of doing this job over the years, I've spoken to many, many women who've had abortions.I've talked to many abortion providers, and it is really quite striking actually how, when you talk to people about their experiences, like your experience, Lulu, that you just shared with us, and even abortion providers in many cases, the things that they have to say about abortion often are really quite divorced from the sort of political, national debate about this issue.There is a lot of nuance in people's personal feelings about this issue, and again, even in abortion providers’ feelings about doing this work.

But I would just say that something very, very simple sort of gets lost here.And that's that abortion is just a reality.You hear people sort of throw around the statistic that one in four women in their lifetime in America will have an abortion, and that is true.It's almost become sort of a slogan in a way, or a bumper sticker.But it also is just this basic starting point that I think we don't start from often enough: that abortion is inevitable.

You cannot stop people from getting abortions.We have seen it year after year after year for decades, for centuries, really.And we're just looking at this future where so many more women are going to end up in desperate situations and desperate to not be pregnant, and their choices are going to be few and far between.And whether you want abortion to exist or not, it exists, and it is going to keep existing.And I think that's just the place we have to start from now going forward into this great abyss that we're in.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Leah, we know that laws like this impact Black and Brown women, poor women, the most.They're the ones who will bear the brunt of this decision.The United States is now one of only a handful of countries to actively roll back existing abortion protections.As someone who wanted to see the end of Roe, what's your response to the concern that women who won't be able to get an abortion are poor women? Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms I appreciate your question, especially about America's exceptional status in the world, because America was exceptional before today.America had some of the most expansive laws in terms of access to abortion in the world.

It's much more common across Europe to have nearer total bans, except for life of the mother, after 12 weeks than it is in America.And even then, that affects a small minority of abortions.The vast majority of abortions happen in the first trimester.Americans when polled both favor upholding Roe, but also favor restrictions that are incompatible with Roe, which include heavy restrictions from the second trimester onward.So people have really mixed feelings, and America has had for years a much more expansive sense of when and if it would be permissible to end a life than the rest of the world.

I don't want to discount the racial or poverty impact at all, because every single law we pass has a disparate impact on people who are not white, people who are poor, people who are vulnerable by any kind of identity marker.I'd contrast this with the laws we have around child protection services, which I think we'd all agree on this call are an important part of what the state does.The state exists to protect people who are vulnerable, who need the intervention from someone who can speak for them when they're placed in danger or abused and don't have the ability to escape or seek redress.But it's absolutely the case that the American child protective service system and the foster care system is discriminatory towards poor parents, towards Black parents.It'll take children from a house where the parents can't take care of them because they're poor and then subsidize foster parents to take care of the children when the original parents needed the money.

I see the solution to this as fighting against racism in our society and in our law, but not at dismantling laws or giving up on protecting the vulnerable.I don't think we can do without child protective services, but I think we need a massive overhaul in how it works.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Michelle, I'd like you to respond to that.When you hear Leah talk about this, what are you hearing? Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist So look, I've had two kids and one second-trimester miscarriage.So I feel like after you have children, or at least for me, having children gave me an appreciation of the value of the fetus that I didn't have as a younger pro-choice activist.

I know very well we're not just talking about a clump of cells.I know very well that we're talking about something that is a life, even if you don't believe it is a full person.And I understand that it's often something that is morally, quite fraught and complicated and anguishing, even if for other women it's quite straightforward.But what I don't hear from Leah or other people is what you say to a person who is in front of you screaming, I don't want this to happen to me.And your answer is essentially: I feel bad for you.

I want to help you.But at the end of the day, too bad.Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms I think the answer to suffering is accompaniment in it, provision of all material help that we can possibly give.I think in America that often involves a mix of both private charity and public law changes and help in just accessing the aids we've already ostensibly passed for vulnerable women, but then we don't make it available to them.We offload all the administrative work of our welfare state onto – Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist Right, but there is essentially – there's a harm of pregnancy.

There's travail and pain and transformation involved that that cannot be, it can be kind of ameliorated.But essentially, if pregnancy itself is the thing that is much more dangerous than abortion, and again, you are saying that women should have to go through that against their will.And I think all these other supports are nice, and I think we can both agree that they're necessary, but none of them change that essential fact.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Listening to you both talk, what strikes me is that a lot of the discussion around Roe had been that Roe is inherently divisive.But what I'm hearing from both of you is these very deeply held beliefs.

And so Lauren, I suspect this now will only get uglier.Instead of one fight at the federal level over abortion, there is now going to be 50 fights, in every state.Lauren Kelley, Opinion editor Lulu, you raise a good point that really wild and probably chaotic things are about to happen.At least some of the justices on the court, like we heard from Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for instance, during the Dobbs arguments, suggest that it is time for the Court to wash its hands of this issue, return it to the states and sort of be neutral.And it suggests that we will be, with the overturning of Roe v.

Wade, ending an era.And in some ways we are.But I think it shouldn't be lost that we are really entering a whole new chaotic era.Like you said, we have now 50 individual state options for fighting this battle.We know that about half of those states are going to ban all or most abortions very soon, if not already.

We know that a growing number of women are going to be pregnant and desperate.We know that they will turn to various means to end those pregnancies.It might be pills; it might be physical trauma, which is still alarmingly common.We know that some women will be prosecuted because that already happens.And we know that some women will die.

Those things we know are going to happen.I just want to say that there’s also a lot we don't know, and I think it's important to sort of be humble about that.We don't know how the public is going to react to this.I think we're really in uncharted waters in terms of an election year.All of the various traumas that we have experienced as a society recently, I think people are quite exhausted.

So I think it's anybody's guess sort of how the public, how voters, how activists and the movements react to this, not to mention individual politicians.Then I think also, I would expect that we see some states sort of really, really push the boundaries, especially when it comes to going after individual women, which has always been historically something that the pro-life movement liked to mostly stay away from.I suspect we see more of that.I suspect that we see some of them pull back a bit if voters don't find that palatable.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Michelle, one thing that is clear is that those who supported abortion access lost the fight.

This decision is the result of decades of work on the right to get justices seated who would deliver the end of Roe.Why do you think that failure happened? Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist Partly it happened because of the anti-democratic nature of our institutions, or the counter-majoritarian nature of our institutions.And there's a subtlety here because on the one hand, Roe v.Wade was itself a decision that was meant to protect minority rights – the rights of women in states where there is popular support for banning abortions.At the same time, there is broad popular support for Roe as it stood and the only reason that it has now been overturned is because we had presidents who lost the popular vote and nonetheless were able to appoint Supreme Court justices.

And so Democrats have won popular majorities in I believe seven out of the last eight elections and that hasn't been enough to give them control of the Supreme Court.And so we see the kind of counter-majoritarian vice tightening around American institutions where the majority will have less and less ability to exercise its prerogatives.At the same time, there's a lot that the pro-choice movement can learn from the grassroots organizing of the anti-abortion movement: its relentless focus on local politics; its march through the institutions; its ability to capture state legislatures.I think that the pro-choice movement, and maybe liberals more generally, were too reliant on what was a kind of exceptional situation.We had this brief period where you had the Supreme Court as a kind of protector of last resort of liberalism and civil rights, and haven't done the grassroots work that is needed to create an institutional base for, for these rights.

And it's a really long road back.I wish I felt more hope that we will make it there.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Leah, acknowledging the failure on the opposite side of this, where do you see the push going next in terms of your side of the debate.What would you like to see happen? Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms Well, it's obviously, it's a 50 state fight, and I think it's really incumbent on us to make the case not just that abortion should be illegal, but it should be unthinkable.Both because of the monstrous injustice of taking the most vulnerable members of our society, saying we have no room for them and no room for the people whom they depend on, is something that we can't sustain.

I want it to be like other campaigns for justice, where we win more and more hearts to the idea that this is a barbarity we can and must leave behind.And I think that comes paired with material support for people who are vulnerable and just a real acknowledgement that dependency is the human condition.No one stands alone.No one is free of obligations to others.What we deserve, what our duties create, is a right to be supported in our duties.

And we've fallen short of that for much longer than Roe’s been in effect, and that fight's going to keep going on across the country.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast I’d like to end with what this moment has left you feeling from your own personal perspectives.Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer at Other Feminisms I remember when I was pregnant a few years ago and I showed all my coworkers the picture on The Bump app of my baby at eight weeks.And everyone was surprised by what a baby looked like then.And it wasn't as pro-life outreach – it was because I was so excited about the baby, and everyone responded to my baby as a baby.

And two weeks after that, I found out that our baby Ariel had died.And there was such a gap between how my coworkers responded in seeing my child and how my doctor responded the second they knew my baby was dead, in terms of just talking about the pregnancy.And I want a world where we can love babies and women and fathers more.And I think people have a natural heart for that, and they need more permission for hope.Lauren Kelley, Opinion editor I am still processing this moment, I think, it has been looming for so long.

But I will say that there is a real physicality to it, that's quite striking.I noticed it when the draft opinion leaked in May and I heard lots of friends and other people I know who follow these things respond similarly – that there is just a visceral, physical feeling that I won't pretend to be able to unpack exactly what it means in this moment, but it's profound.I am feeling it in my bones.Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist I agree with Lauren and that's what I'm hearing from many of my friends.Honestly, I just feel – and hopefully this feeling won’t last – but I feel a real sense of hopelessness not just about the declining prospects for women's equality, but just where this country is going.

We're hurtling into a reactionary future in which none of the guarantees of liberty can be taken for granted.It is so frightening to me.And again, I feel such a sense of shame over the country that my children are going to inherit.It is really difficult for me to put it into words.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Host of “First Person” podcast Michelle, are you going to talk to them about this decision? Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist I'm not sure.

My kids are seven and nine and I have tried to shield them a little bit from the general bleakness.Sometimes my son will ask me, what do you think the world is gonna be like when I grow up? And I try to redirect the conversation because it's difficult for me to answer.I usually say things like, what do you want it to be like? What should we work towards? This Times Opinion podcast was produced by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Anabel Bacon and Alison Bruzek.Edited by Paula Szuchman and Anabel Bacon.Fact checking by Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker, Michelle Harris, Phoebe Lett and Alex Ellerbeck.

Original music by Pat McCusker.Mixing by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker.Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.Editorial support from Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Derek Arthur and Christina Djossa.Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi.

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