On June 24, 2022, The Supreme Court of the United States released the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, ending Roe v Wade’s nearly 50-year legal hegemony over the issue of abortion throughout the U.S. Pro-life advocates, many who had been active fighting to overturn Roe their entire adult lives, celebrated hoping the tide had turned as our nation moved toward a future without abortion. Abortion rights advocates mourned the ruling as an attack on their rights and warned the American public of the coming of abortion deserts where women would be forced to travel across the barren wasteland of abortion-free states to find access to what they believe is essential healthcare. It would be premature to pass a verdict on the premonitions of either side. Nothing like the hopes or fears of the most passionate advocates materialized, but the landscape of abortion law changed. Both sides pushed advantages in states deemed politically friendly to their causes producing some surprising results. The pro-life community faced unexpected challenges as abortion rights advocates enjoyed multiple victories establishing constitutional rights to abortion in new states while turning back efforts to restrict abortion in others. Federal efforts by the Democrats to reestablish national laws through the U.S. Congress failed, and neither side is happy with their progress. At the same time, uncompromising voices are finding new strength. Abortion advocates expressed strong dissatisfaction with the foundations of the Roe decision and see this moment as an opportunity to reset the dialogue with language more fitting the absolute rights to autonomy they seek. Some anti-abortion advocates counter this by introducing Equal Protection legislation at the state level, pressing the moment to move our judicial system toward holding women who procure abortions accountable in the same manner we would any other individual who intentionally killed a human life. Abortion is murder, they reason, therefore those guilty of abortion ought to be treated in the same manner. The extreme representatives of both sides raise the stakes as a population divided and less certain of their position on abortion seeks to sort out a new legal approach to an issue recently assumed to be settled law.
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