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The Future of Abortion Access: An Essential Reading List

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of a measure that would effectively ban abortion in the state. Here's a selection of Pacific Standard stories about recent challenges to abortion access.
A billboard in McAllen, Texas, in front of Whole Women's Health.

A billboard in McAllen, Texas, in front of Whole Women's Health.

Now that it has passed the Alabama Senate, a bill that could become the strictest anti-abortion law in the country has reached the desk of Kay Ivey, the state's Republican governor. Although Ivey has not publicly stated that she will sign the legislation, Republican lawmakers anticipate her signature, according to the New York Times.

Alabama's proposed measure would severely tighten restrictions in the state, banning abortion at every stage of pregnancy. The legislation currently has an exception for pregnancies that are a "serious health risk" to the mother, but cases of rape and incest are not exempt. The doctors who perform abortions could face severe consequences, including felony convictions resulting in up to 99 years in prison.

Pro-life activists hope that this will become a direct challenge to the landmark 1971 Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, which recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. They are hoping for added support from recently appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (although it remains unknown how he would vote on abortion access).

Meanwhile, several other states are taking steps to further restrict abortion access. The governors of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have recently signed "fetal heartbeat" bills.

Here's a selection of recent Pacific Standard stories about challenges to abortion access and what they could mean for the future of abortion access in America:

  • Last week, Rosemary Westwood examined the Alabama legislation amid the wave of recent and ongoing challenges to abortion access.
  • In April, Westwood explained how 2019 has been an unprecedented year for debates about abortion rights. Just four months into the new year, 28 states were considering abortion bans, she reported.
  • In March, Westwood reported on Alabama's "Baby Roe" lawsuit and its implications for the rising fetal personhood movement.
  • In February, Francie Diep examined the science behind admitting privilege laws: Do they help ensure quality of care, or do they create more burdens for abortion access?
  • In August, after Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, Jack Herrera looked back at a 1992 Supreme Court case that attempted to challenge Roe v. Wade, and explored what it might signal for future Supreme Court cases on abortion access.