In early 2018, Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List. He told the crowd, “If all of us do all we can, we can once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.” He was speaking about ending legal abortion in the United States, overturning Roe v. Wade, and upending a woman’s right to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.
This issue is perhaps the most inflammatory and widespread debate in our nation. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in four women have an abortion by the time they’re 45. It’s a medically safe and relatively quick procedure — whether one chooses to go the medical or the surgical route — and despite the common talking point, the large majority of those who choose to terminate do not suffer negative mental or emotional health effects. Regardless, abortion is currently a constitutional right in the United States of America, thanks to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade — which guaranteed access to legal abortion as a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment.
As Pence hoped, conservative politicians and anti-choice advocates are doing their best to change that while President Trump is in office. And they struck especially hard over the past 10 days: both Georgia and Alabama passed historically restrictive abortion laws that are essentially outright bans on the procedure. Pro-choice advocates are in an uproar, celebrities are speaking out, and advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union are threatening to sue.
So what does the passage these abortion laws really mean, and how will they affect you? We break it down.