A leaked draft of a US Supreme Court opinion broke the news that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. If the historic 1973 abortion ruling is reversed, conservative justices may rampage across all progressive issues, including those that affect the environment.
President Joe Biden said that a “whole range of rights” could be up for grabs. “It’s really quite a radical decision,” Biden said. “It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.”
The case that has brought the abortion fight to a head is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, housed in a big pink building in the state’s capital city, is the only abortion provider in Mississippi. When the state passed a law in 2018 prohibiting women from accessing abortion after 15 weeks, the center fought it. And has been fighting it ever since. The leaked documents say that the women’s health provider is going to lose, setting a whole string of losses in motion.
According to a 2021 Gallup poll, 80% of Americans support abortion in all or most cases, with 47% saying it was morally acceptable. A Pew Research Center poll found that 59% of Americans said abortion should be legal. If the Supreme Court can overrule a majority of vocal, ambulatory humans who support abortion access, how will trees, water, and wildlife defend themselves? With this “win,” the court could well trample any environmental law it chooses.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the court gets rid of all climate litigation by saying there’s no standing,” said Robert Percival, director of the environmental law program at the University of Maryland, as reported by E&E News. “That’s something this energized conservative wing could do in the future.”
And like so many injustices, vulnerable people are affected disproportionately by lack of environmental protections and healthcare access. In the case of abortion bans, Black people, young women, and those with limited incomes or who live in rural areas often face the most challenges accessing abortion providers.
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