Published on: Nov 6, 2018fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Doctor at hospital with machines

The Story

More than 40 years after Roe v Wade, people have opinions.

What’s the issue?

In the

Roe case

, the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to get an abortion as part of their right to privacy. But the Court also left some specifics up to the states – which have

very different ways

of handling it.

Catch me up on that.

Abortion laws change depending on where you live. Some states don’t allow insurers to cover abortion. Some require women to wait or get counseling first. Some of the most restrictive states ban abortion at 18 or

20 weeks

. This year, Iowa went the furthest and banned most abortions at the first signs of a fetal heartbeat – around

six weeks

into the pregnancy. That law is currently blocked while it’s being challenged in the courts.

In the US there were 12.1 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 years old

What does the left say?

The law is on our side. Women have the right to a safe, legal abortion. When states limit that access, there’s evidence that women still get abortions. They just do it in unsafe ways. When states restrict insurance coverage – and make women go through more hoops to get an abortion – it unfairly targets low-income women, especially in rural areas, who have limited access to clinics.

What does the right say?

These are unborn babies. And they can’t advocate for themselves, so we will. Abortion should be illegal – in all or most cases. There should be medical exceptions to save the life of a mother. In some cases there should be exceptions if the woman was sexually assaulted. But people should not be able to just choose to end a life.

What can my elected reps do?


state legislators


draft and pass bills

on things like how far along a woman can or can't be in her pregnancy to get an abortion. They can also

limit or expand access

to abortion clinics (think: require counseling before getting an abortion)

— Governors

decide whether or not those laws get passed




reps can propose and pass similar laws on the national level, like Republicans tried to do

earlier this year

. They can also try to pass legislation that would

defund Planned Parenthood

– which provides access to abortions and other health services. Senators can also vote ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on Supreme Court picks like Trump’s pick Brett Kavanaugh – who could play a key role in abortion law on the national level

— State attorneys general

are in charge of making sure the law of the land – in this case law of the state – gets enforced like it should.


an example of an AG taking action to protect abortion rights, and


an example of an AG working to limit abortions

— Mayors

can also play a role in the abortion debate.


an example


For some voters, this is the only issue that matters. Learn what your candidate’s position is and what they can do on this subject.

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