Stateside Podcast: Perspectives on the overturn of Roe v. Wade
The Supreme Court released the decision about Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Center. The case serves as a way for opponents to get rid of the federal protections for access to abortion, as established in Roe v. Wade.
A preliminary injunction has been issued by the Michigan Court of Claims for the 1931 law that banned abortions without exception for cases of rape and incest. While the federal right to an abortion is now gone, the injunction makes it legal — for now — to get an abortion in the state.
The 6-3 decision by the Court has elicited several reactions among opponents and supporters of abortion and reproductive rights.
Dr. Lisa Harris, an abortion-provider in Michigan, said that she and her colleagues have been thinking about how the Dobbs decision will impact the care for their patients. She said she already received an email from an out-of-state colleague who needs to now find care for a pregnant patient elsewhere.
“For those of us on the ground providing clinical work...this is a care and caregiving issue,” Harris said. “We’re not thinking about it in terms of political gains or losses.”
Harris also notes that abortion has been very common, including in the time period when the Constitution was written. She said that people have always ended pregnancies and that it used to not be as stigmatized or contested.
“You could look in women’s diaries at the time and read about the measures they took to end a pregnancy, you could see ads in newspapers for medications to end pregnancies,” she said. “That would be a tradition. I would say not so much a tradition of abortion, but a tradition of women in the context of their lives and their families, knowing what the best thing for them was and acting accordingly.”
As for her reaction to the ruling, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan Genevieve Marnon, said she was ecstatic. She called the federal protections for abortion the “main obstacle” in the way for “restoring the legal protection for the unborn child.”
Marnon said that the opponents of abortion-rights are fighting on three fronts. First, they want to defeat the lawsuits from both Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the one filed by Planned Parenthood of Michigan, the latter of which brought about the injunction. The second is that they want to defeat the ballot initiative that abortion-right advocates have been gathering signatures for that would enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution. The final goal is to maintain control of at least one chamber of the legislature.
“So we really have a three tiered fight going on and any one of them is not more important than the other,” Marnon said. “So we have our work cut out for us.”
- Dr. Lisa Harris, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and professor of women's and gender studies at University of Michigan
- Genievive Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan