In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States of America overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that proclaimed that abortion is a constitutional right.
"Post-Roe America" is the result of a seven-month investigation by Vice news on how right-wing Christian and anti-abortion groups successfully maneuvered and manipulated the system to overturn the law and what this means for American women in the future.
In the early 1970s, Roe vs Wade was a Supreme Court ruling that stated that abortion is a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives a woman a fundamental "right to privacy", including protecting her rights to an abortion. Roe vs Wade was considered a major victory for many women across America who, at the time, were fighting for equal civil rights but also better sexual and reproductive health care.
Instead of accepting their loss, the anti-abortion rights movement became even more motivated to fight back and reverse the 1973 ruling. Over the last five decades, they have been tirelessly working, planning and strategizing, until they finally overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion is now only legal in about 20 states, and it is illegal or about to become illegal in almost all of the others.
Reporter Gianna Toboni speaks to a cross-section of women in the middle of this social crisis. We meet 18-year-old Kaya, who has recently decided to have an abortion, as well as doctors who perform safe abortions. She also met with those who run safe houses for pregnant and disenfranchised women and even Denise Harley, the senior counsel for the ADF or the "Alliance Defending Freedom", a Christian legal advocacy group that had an active role in the overturning of the bill.
The ADF has been writing anti-abortion legislation and sharing that template across states, as well as offering free legal services to defend these legislations in court. State lawmakers, who are supposed to represent their constituents, are not the ones writing these laws. It is this well-funded and organized Christian legal organization who are, and in doing so, technically dictating how people should live. It's not part of the democratic process and shows that these special interest groups have more influence than actual voters.
Toboni also interviewed politicians and government workers. She asked about their budgets and plans for when there is an eventual increase in new mothers and newborns in the coming months. No one could give concrete answers, not even knowing how much it costs to raise a child. They also claimed that the private sector will always support mothers in need anyway.
While the shock of overturning Roe vs Wade will soon pass, American women's health will be affected forever. Denying them access to safe abortions will lead to increased infant mortality rates, maternal disability and death, more unhealthy premature births, and higher rates of domestic violence and family poverty. Here's hoping the pro-life movement will extend its support beyond birth.