Once again, The Supreme Court has decided to continue their fun game of wait and see if you’ll have reproductive rights, and declined to release a decision on the much anticipated Dobbs v. Jackson case today.
The case, which calls into question whether Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban is unconstitutional, would be huge on it’s own. But thanks to a leaked draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Dobbs, we now know the court looks poised to overturn Roe v. Wade as a part of that decision.
Although we didn’t get a decision today, court watchers warn that we’re definitely not out of the woods. The court announced that they’ll be making Friday an “extra decision day” (Yay).
This means we could get an answer on Roe as soon as tomorrow. Because who doesn’t prefer to lose their rights ahead of the weekend, right?
However, we could just as easily be waiting weeks to hear from the Supreme Court. (It is important to emphasize here that every day where Roe is still the law of the land is a very good thing for folks trying to access abortion.)
Typically, the court releases all of their decisions by the end of June or early July and then head-out for recess. Although, importantly, ending fifty years of super popular court precedent isn’t really typical.
Experts we’ve spoken with say that they expect Dobbs to be one of the court’s last decisions because justices will want to get out of dodge (Washington) to avoid public backlash.
If Roe does fall, the consequences will be seismic. Thirteen states have trigger laws, which means that if the court reverses Roe, abortion will almost immediately be illegal. And 26 states are either certain or likely to ban abortion, according to Guttmacher.
For weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris has been meeting with experts to create a plan for what will happen if Roe falls. Last week, Harris met with law professors to figure out the myriad of ways losing Roe could impact access to health care for millions of Americans.
And today, Harris met with Democratic Attorneys General across the country to discuss an action plan ahead of the ruling, according to Reuters.
Still, the Biden-Harris administration has been called out for not using all of the tools at their disposal to ensure abortion access in the United States.
In an interview with the 19th News, Democratic Senator Warren (D-MA) listed a series of actions the Biden-Harris administration could take without congressional action:
Among those: educating the public about and expanding access to medication abortion, the two-pill regimen that can be administered from home to terminate pregnancies within the first trimester; providing vouchers for people who will have to travel out of state for abortions once Roe is overturned; assessing whether abortions can be provided on federal lands, even in states that have restricted access; and using existing laws and regulations to limit cell phone applications’ ability to sell data that might reveal whether someone got an abortion.
So far, the administration has yet to take any of these steps, even as abortion access across the states continues to dwindle.
But whether we see the end of Roe v. Wade tomorrow or not, as Senator Warren puts it, we’re already in “an all-hands on deck moment.”