Updated: Feb 8
Roe v Wade, the landmark 7-to-2 US Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States, has been under attack ever since it became the law of the land in 1973. Conservative legislators have been relentless – and too often successful – in pushing through laws and regulations that have increasingly restricted access to abortion.
Although past efforts did not succeed in making abortion illegal, the current Supreme Court with six conservative judges is preparing to make even more drastic cuts to abortion rights, including overturning Roe v Wade.
Only 14 states and the District of Columbia explicitly permit abortion prior to second trimester fetus viability or when necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person. But just because abortion is still legal in these states, doesn’t mean it is accessible. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental health provider in the world, and in the US, the number of Catholic-owned hospitals has increased by 22% since 2001. They will neither perform abortions nor give referrals.
Even in cities where abortion is strongly supported by local governments, such as Los Angeles and New York City, organized groups of clinic defenders often need to protect women seeking abortions from being harassed and threatened by supporters of anti-abortion organizations such as Operation Rescue which was very active in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fake clinics are another threat to accessibility, but we’ll save that for another Poster of the Week.
Planned Parenthood commissioned today’s Poster of the Week 30 years ago in response to another Supreme Court decision. In 1992, the US Supreme Court significantly weakened Roe v Wade on a 5-to-4 vote on Planned Parenthood v Casey which reversed its previous ruling that limited state restrictions on abortion. 25,000 posters were put up in 75 cities throughout the US.
Planned Parenthood even paid for a billboard in Los Angeles – which 3M (owner of the bill board) took down after receiving a complaint. When a lawsuit was threatened, they put it back up 15 hours after taking it down.