Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s regressive decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. — a dangerous and retrograde move by the conservative court that paved the way for states to radically obstruct abortion access for millions upon millions of American women.
So, let’s look at what has happened in the past 364 days:
Republican-controlled legislatures approved near-total abortion bans in 14 states. These states are now unsafe for women —especially of childbearing age. And nearly a dozen additional states have enacted other restrictions on abortion, with some cases still being litigated.
There are women leaving these states for exactly this reason.
Also, access to mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortions in the U.S., is now in jeopardy. This is a drug that plays a critical role in ensuring safe and timely access for those who need to end their pregnancies. And in some places, it’s now a crime to administer or receive that life-saving health care.
And approximately one in four women between the ages of 15 and 44 are now stuck because they live in states where abortion is banned or mostly banned.
All of this, mind you, as opinion polls from the last year show that the majority of Americans want abortion to be legal. Not to mention, four of the five Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe were men.
Women’s lives are on the line.
I ask Republicans if you would want to be denied care for a miscarriage or forced to continue with a nonviable pregnancy.
What if Deborah Dorbert of Florida was your loved one? The young mother’s baby was diagnosed with a fatal fetal abnormality. Would you force her to carry the hopeless, high-risk pregnancy to term —and then tell her she will watch her baby struggle and die? That happened because of a state that now has a six-week ban. On March 3, her son, Milo, died in her arms shortly after he was born, just as doctors predicted. She told media outlets: “He gasped for air a couple of times…I watched my child take his first breath and I held him as he took his last.”
What if Samantha Casiano of Texas was your daughter, sister or wife? Twenty weeks into Samantha’s pregnancy, she was told by doctors that only part of her baby’s brain and skull were forming and the fetus would not survive long after childbirth. Would you be so cruel as to tell her she would have to go on with her pregnancy — five months of pregnancy —knowing her baby would die? She ended up spending the remainder of her pregnancy raising money for the inevitable funeral. Her baby, Halo, lived for just four hours.
When women in this situation are forced to carry to term, there are long-lasting health consequences, which can be deadly.
And I just want to ask Republicans: What if you were Christina Zielke who was in Ohio when she started to miscarry? Because of the state’s six-week abortion ban, the ER wouldn’t treat her miscarriage. Can you imagine being told by the hospital that it needed proof there was no fetal development? Can you imagine that in real time, as you are miscarrying, you are bleeding, in pain and scared? Can you imagine being told to leave the ER? This is the place to go when you need help.
What would your opinion about abortion be if this was happening to you and your body?
Christina, by the way, was only given the D&C procedure to help when her “life was in danger.” Her family recounted almost watching her die.
This and much more is happening now to women across the country. These are real stories. They are horror stories that you Republicans have inflicted on women across the country because of your antiquated, unrealistic, highly judgmental and ill-informed view of what it means to have the right to an abortion.
I have a message for women — and any men out there who love them:
We can’t wait for things to change as these conservative lawmakers take us back 50 years and beyond. Call them out and call their offices, email them, push them ,find candidates to run and support them. Run for office yourself. And for God’s sake, vote!
Vote them out.
This is an adapted excerpt from the June 23 episode of "Morning Joe."