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Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Here’s what you need to know

The Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, striking down the precedent that found that legal access to abortion is a constitutional right. After fifty years, the national right to abortion – as limited and basic as it was – has been wiped away.

On Friday morning, the Supreme Court released the long awaited decision—in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court ruled this way:

“Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito. The case was decided six-to-three with justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, Thomas, and Roberts in the majority. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

The ruling was expected: In a bombshell leak in May, Politico obtained a draft of the majority decision, which Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed is authentic. It feels hard to imagine that it could get worse. It will. “This is one of the largest public health crises in history,” Sharmin Hossain, campaign director at Liberate Abortion, told GLAMOUR US at the time.

What can a women’s magazine say on the day when it is announced clear that women and pregnant people don’t have a constitutional right to determine their own bodily choices? For any American who believes in basic freedoms, this day is a waking nightmare. But activists, medical professionals, and progressive politicians say that this day is also another opportunity to continue the fight for safe, legal, accessible abortion any time, anywhere.

Abortion is healthcare. The right to one’s own body is the most basic expectation of being human. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. Let’s absorb the news we can. Abortion news can be hard to follow, between state laws and Supreme Court cases. Pro-forced-birth lawmakers are banking on us feeling discouraged and distracted.  

Let’s grieve, get our facts straight, and get to work.

Where is abortion still legal?

The moment Roe is overturned, at least 26 states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion, according to analysis from the Guttmacher Institute. People living in states, such as Texas, where abortion is essentially banned have been experiencing this emergency for months. Already in parts of Texas people seeking abortion have to travel over 1,000 miles to get to the nearest clinic. If you live in the USA, use this interactive map from the Guttmacher Institute to get the most up-to-date changes in your state.

You should NOT assume that your abortion appointment is canceled, or that a new appointment can no longer be made, because you are in a state with trigger laws set to ban abortion. Call your local clinic and ask, first. Or start with INeedAnA.com

“People are scared right now,” Hossain told GLAMOUR. “We’re pointing people to contact the Repro Legal Help Line, which is available for people to ask any questions related to criminalization or legal questions around abortion care.”

What about safe, self-managed abortion? 

“The good thing is we now live in a time where we can access medication abortion to safely and effectively end pregnancies,” says Inez McGuire. “There are folks who are already doing that today, and even more folks we expect will be doing that without access to in-clinic abortion.” 

But won’t abortion still be legal in many states?

“Folks that believe, ‘Oh it’s available in California, it’s available in New York,’ are forgetting the vast majority of America,” says Hossain. This is going to be everyone’s problem. “Two dozen states will lose legal abortion access,” Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, tells GLAMOUR. “Either abortion will be outlawed in your state or your state will become a state that needs to start providing abortions to people who are coming from out of state. So this will have an impact on every single person in this country.”

Should we take to the streets?

It feels wrong to proceed as if everything is okay because it is wrong to proceed as if everything is okay. “People want to take action,” says Liberate Abortion’s Hossain. “We’re asking everybody to go to liberateabortion.org and just sign up for our newsletter where we’re going to be updating actions hourly to let people know when and where people are taking to the streets and how to make sure that we’re saying the right thing so people who need care are able to get it accurately while also amplifying the political messaging that we need.”

Do Americans want Roe to fall?

Polling has consistently shown that Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 70% of respondents oppose overturning Roe. Another poll, this one by Gallup, found that about 60% of respondents oppose it. Gallup analysis found that public opinion on the issue has maintained roughly the same levels in the past 30 years.