The ability to control one’s body is intrinsic to controlling one’s life. This is true along the entire reproductive continuum, from sex to abortion to delivery. In her 1993 confirmation hearing to join the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”
In short, she is being treated differently—and less than—a man.
The World Abortion Laws Map is the definitive record of the legal status of abortion in countries across the globe. Since 1998, the Center for Reproductive Rights has produced this map as a resource for advocates, government officials, and civil society organizations working to advance abortion rights as human rights for women and girls* around the globe.
The Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe, far from settling the matter, instead has launched court and political battles across the states likely to go on for years.
Voters in several states where abortion was on the ballot were generally favorable to abortion rights.
Restricting access to abortion goes against science, safety, and human dignity and portends a dangerous future.
The results in Kansas — the nation's first statewide vote on abortion rights after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June — has upended traditional wisdom about the politics of abortion. In a Republican-leaning state that preferred President Donald Trump by 15 points in 2020, the outcome was a landslide that few expected: Nearly 60% of voters chose to support abortion rights.
In 2018, a referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment passed overwhelmingly by a margin of 66% to 34%. As a result of the repeal, legal abortions are now allowed during the first trimester, with costs covered by the public health service.
Roe v. Wade was never expected to be the case that made history.
With Roe v. Wade overturned, the U.S. is one of a small number of countries where abortion laws are being tightened
As inequalities in abortion access and the criminalisation of obstetric emergencies persist in Argentina, the work of activists and experts pushing for change reverberates beyond the country's borders.
"With abortion no longer a constitutional right, Americans are looking to the voting booth to have their voice heard on the issue," Ipsos President Cliff Young said. "However, the divisions that exist across the states could bring legal, medical, and lifelong consequences for many parts of the country." Four states — California, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont — will have abortion measures on their ballots this fall.
Sexual and reproductive rights are integral to basic human rights. Yet they are commonly ignored by governments and at times receive short shrift from some members of the broader human rights community.
Amid accusations of transphobia and links to a controversial Communist group, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights is recruiting young activists and using inflammatory tactics to spread their message.
Act Up aimed to combat the Aids crisis and improve the lives of people with Aids, a purview that enabled different factions within the group to take on issues of drug access, housing discrimination, sex education, and the power of the Catholic church. Likewise, the reproductive rights movement would be wise to dedicate itself only to the emergency at hand: abortion access, and the lives of people who need abortions.
Four recommendations from our American social affairs correspondent.
Being able to access abortion is about all kinds of justice — economic justice included.
In September, the NPR Politics Podcast put together an episode on the U.S. history of abortion rights. Given the leaked Supreme Court draft decision, it provides some helpful context for this moment.
The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, abolishing a constitutional right to abortion that has existed for nearly half a century. The 6–3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization paves the way for total or near-total abortion bans in half the states. As we wait to see what comes next, we’ve pulled together Slate’s best reporting on Roe and its untimely end.
The rollback of abortion rights in the U.S. has been mirrored in many other nations globally, where the rise of pro-life movements have coincided with radical political or cultural shifts. In other countries, abortion rights activists have succeeded in pushing for less restrictive laws as part of a broader fight for women’s rights.
First, the right to abortion is not about the Constitution. Fundamentally, the question of whether women have a right to abortion in this country is a question of power. That is clear in every element of how the decision came to be, and in how it is coming undone. Women’s lack of power in our political system is the reason the right to abortion is missing from the Constitution in the first place, and it’s the reason the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court (all of them men at the time) ultimately had to consider it.
To take back women’s rights, we need power, commitment and determination. And we need to be unapologetic in claiming the obvious: women are human beings with moral agency and the right to control our own bodies.
Abortion has not always been considered a political issue, or even a religious one. Positive and neutral references to pregnancy termination date back thousands of years. And in early-American history, early abortion was a common form of birth control.
Safe and accessible reproductive health is backed by science and doctors. Reducing women's rights doesn't help.
The main difference between the women who will make it to an abortion provider in a post-Roe world and those who won’t? Money.
The French and Americans once saw eye to eye on reproductive rights. Today, not so much.
The absence of these exemptions is a sign of the anti-abortion-rights movement’s distrust of women and the medical establishment.
Consider this argument: ‘One cannot ban abortion; one can only ban safe abortion.’
And that is because abortion is not (just) a health issue. Whether we are willing to let women and people capable of becoming pregnant control their own bodies, for health or any other reason, is an equity issue—a question of who deserves bodily autonomy and freedom to reach their full potential. (Importantly, this is not solely a “women’s” issue. Although the Texas law is conveniently silent on men’s liability, women don’t tend to conceive by themselves. But it is only their liberty that is curtailed.)
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the federal right to abortion, things are more than a little confused.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national-state partnership focused on lifting up the voices of Black women leaders at the national and regional levels in our fight to secure Reproductive Justice for all women, femmes, and girls.
On June 24th forty-nine years of our constitutional right to an abortion was overturned. We will not back down.