The Ramifications of Roe’s Fall c. Wade won’t stop at abortion bans


Within minutes of the leaked draft notice of the Supreme Court of the United States requesting the annulment of Roe vs. Wade, Elizabeth Constance, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, has been inundated with social media posts from concerned patients. What does this mean for the embryos I froze, they asked him. What does this mean for the egg retrieval I have planned? “Our patients are really scared,” says Constance.

Should Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 case that ruled that the right to abortion in the United States is constitutionally protected, be overturned, the repercussions will be swift and devastating. And the realities of a post-roe deer world will probably not stop at banning abortion. Many other reproductive health frontiers are in jeopardy, legal experts and bioethicists warn.

The most immediate concern, says Sean Tipton, head of advocacy, policy and development for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, is that many states are using language in their laws that would give legal and constitutional status to the egg. fertilized. roe deer be overthrown. At present, 13 states in the United States have “trigger” laws in place that would ban all or nearly all abortions immediately or very quickly if roe deer were canceled, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research and advocacy group. In many of these laws, life is defined as beginning at the time of fertilization, although the exact language differs from state to state.

According to this definition, any procedure involving the destruction of a fertilized egg is likely to be prohibited if Roe vs. Wade is reversed – a fertilized egg would theoretically have the same rights as a kindergarten child. It is the manifestation of personality movement, propagated by pro-lifers, which seeks to define fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos and fetuses as people with equal protection under the law. “It’s a clear and present danger to all forms of reproductive health care,” Tipton says.

Not only does such terminology prohibit abortion, but it could compromise access to certain forms of birth control, such as intrauterine devices, as well as emergency contraception like Plan B. Indeed, these Forms of contraception are considered by some anti-abortion advocates to be abortifacients—substances that induce abortion—when interpreting life as beginning at fertilization. (This despite IUDs and emergency contraception widely prevent pregnancy by preventing the eggs from being fertilized or being released, respectively, rather than interacting with the eggs after fertilization.) It could also hinder access to assisted reproduction therapy, namely IVF.

roe deerThe fall could be an opportunity for pro-life politicians to push for new restrictions, warns Seema Mohapatra, a law professor specializing in health law and reproductive justice at Southern Methodist University in Texas. “Any state that has been at the forefront of anti-abortion legislation, we can expect these kinds of ancillary laws to pass,” she says. This includes large swaths of states in the Midwest and South. “Even if so far they haven’t been active, this will really empower states – and, cynically, politicians who want attention – to focus on these issues.”


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