Abortion in the United States - Protecting and Expanding Access
Cerillo Sharma, Anand
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Access to abortion in the United States is becoming increasingly determined by the state legislatures. Restrictive abortion laws at the state level that impose onerous requirements on providers and restrict women and girls’ access to the procedure have been on the rise. The 2019 state legislative session saw an unprecedented level of such laws being passed by state lawmakers committed to restricting access, some attempting to criminalize abortion at 6 weeks of gestation when most women wouldn’t even have learnt of their pregnancy. Much of the activity at the state level seems to be a concerted effort to bring the abortion issue back to the Supreme Court, attempting to challenge the legal status of abortion at the federal level. With Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the court has a strong conservative majority which has the potential to have a lasting impact on abortion access in the United States. Research shows that abortion is a routine medical procedure, and restricting legal access only results in an increase in unsafe/illegal procedures. Coercing women to continue an unintended pregnancy to term by limiting abortion access results in a negative impact on their lives, and a high cost to the taxpayers when such unintended births are publicly funded. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was a key vote in Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and a change in the legal landscape for abortion resulting from Justice Kavanaugh’s actions on the Supreme Court is likely to be politically damaging to the Senator. Introducing and sponsoring a legislation in the Senate that protects and expands access by eliminating restrictions, and thereby incentivizing the private and nonprofit infrastructure to scale up services could be a pivotal policy action ahead of the 2020 elections.