All signs continue to point to SCOTUS issuing a ruling this summer that could dismantle Roe, tossing the decision of whether or not individuals can obtain abortions into the salivating hands of Republican state elected officials.
SCOTUS’ repeated punts on Texas’ unprecedentedly dangerous abortion law signaled just how antagonist the current court is toward the 1973 precedent. And the copy-cat bills emerging out of GOP-led states in the weeks and months since have signaled what’s to come as the nation heads into a new dystopian reality — one in which your right to an abortion will largely depend on the state in which you live, and the states your state neighbors.
As Kate Riga reported last week, Idaho became the first state to pass a six-week abortion ban that largely mirrors the most concerning aspects of the bounty-hunting, Wild West components of the Texas law, and Missouri Republicans are working on crafting something similar, but — potentially — with a special twist. Missouri state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R) recently proposed an amendment to her state’s legislation that would allow those greedy enough to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion successfully file suit even if the procedure was done in a different state.
That effort — Republican elected officials seeking to control what their constituents do even outside of their home state — is a maddening and concerning trend that researchers warn could spread, both when it comes to abortion access and on other, more recent right-wing fixations, such as trans rights.
But a few blue states are doing some early prep work to help meet the coming swell of medical needs from disenfranchised individuals outside their states.
For example, the Oregonian reported this week on a new bill making its way through the state legislature that advocates hope will help meet the impending increased demand for abortion care in the state, including for Idahoans who will have to cross state lines to get the procedure. Oregon’s House Bill 5202 is designed to allocate about $15 million to the Oregon Reproductive Equity Fund, which will help patients not only pay for the likely out-of-network health care costs for the procedure, but also aid in travel and lodging expenses, the newspaper reported.
Similarly, California released a proposal in December that would increase state funding for abortion providers in California. The proposed legislation would also simplify access to abortion services in the state, help pay providers and help fund abortion services for low-income women who travel to California for the procedure.
And just today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Senate Bill 245 into law, which will lower costs associated with getting an abortion in the Golden State in general, The Sacramento Bee reported.
But the blue state solidarity extends beyond abortion access. Red states like Texas, Arkansas and Indiana have been pushing anti-trans laws that would limit the rights of transgender youths for some time. In Texas and Arkansas specifically, it is already essentially illegal for trans youth to receive most types of gender affirming medical care, with Texas most recently characterizing the procedures as a form of child abuse.
Democratic state lawmakers in California announced last week that they will propose legislation that would cement the state’s standing as a safe haven for parents of trans youth who reside in other states and who now face criminal prosecution for allowing their child to receive gender-affirming medical care.
While the Missouri amendment and others of its ilk may still pose a challenge to blue states’ efforts to support those who have been demonized by their red state neighbors, the prep work is heartening heading into an era in which the now-uber-conservative SCOTUS may well dismantle a litany of the high court’s once-believed-to-be-precedent federal protections against discrimination.
The Best Of TPM Today
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