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“Women are frightened, furious, and hopefully fired up,” Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute of Reproductive Health, a national reproductive rights organization tells HollywoodLife, the day after the astounding news that a Supreme Court draft majority opinion had been leaked the evening before on May 2. The opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, slammed the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade as “egregiously wrong” and ruled that it should be overturned.
Andrea Miller and Amy Schumer attend NIRH Champions of Choice Awards Luncheon at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on April 27, 2022 in New York. (Photo by Jared Siskin/PMC/PMC)
That means that when the Supreme Court decision becomes official in late June or early July, individual states will be able to pass laws, making abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest. Realistically for American women, 26 Republican-dominated states, from Arkansas to Wyoming will institute abortion bans, some as soon as Roe falls, according to the Guttmacher Insititute.
After 50 years of legal abortion, American women will lose the right to make their own decisions about whether they are ready to become a parent. And yes, today, May 3, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that the leaked opinion is authentic. Responds Miller: “This is a societal earthquake…a seismic moment, when this comes to women’s equality and bodily integrity.” Miller has worked to protect women’s reproductive choice, for almost her entire career and now tells HollywoodLife she wants women to know that today and until that Supreme Court ruling becomes official, abortion is still legal in some way in every state including Texas, where abortions are now only legal up to six weeks after conception.
Miller urges women to be motivated by their fear and fury over this massive setback to their personal rights. “We have to be louder, clearer, and bolder about our convictions. This is a crucial time to participate in our democracy.”
Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren delivers a speech to a crowd of thousands of pro-choice protesters gathered for a rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, 03 May 2022. (MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
What does this mean for women? What can we do when about 40 percent of American women, who live in states where Republicans control the state legislatures, lose their right to an abortion this summer?
“There’s no better way to express our feelings than to vote these people out of the state legislatures. We have to make this a key issue in the midterm elections,” says Miller. Since 26 states have already passed or are poised to pass abortion bans or near bans, women who believe in abortion access, should Google who their state representatives are and how to reach them, then call and email them and “let them know that they need to do everything in their power to protect and expand access to abortion,” she urges. If their state representatives support the abortion banning laws and don’t reverse their stances, then “turn out on Nov. 8 for the mid-term elections no matter what and vote!”
Pro-choice protesters and anti-abortion protesters shout at one another outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, 03 May 2022. (MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
A huge volume of fired up voters who want to get their reproductive choice reinstated will be essential because of the amount of gerrymandering and vote suppression laws that have already been passed in Republican-controlled states.
But Miller encourages women and other abortion rights supporting voters not to be discouraged. “The reality is that these Republican legislatures are controlled by extreme officials so it’s very difficult for them to feel the blowback — they are trying to make sure they aren’t held accountable,” she says. But women can’t let them get away with ending a Constitutional right.
She feels encouraged by the energetic and angry response that she’s already seeing among women to the news of the leaked Supreme Court ruling. “I’m seeing for the first time, that abortion has become a critical issue among voters and I believe people are becoming crystal clear now on what’s at stake and they will vote on this issue in the mid terms,” she says.
Thousands of pro-choice protesters gather for a rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, 03 May 2022. (MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
While the Supreme Court was stacked with three ultra conservative judges by Donald Trump with help from Senator Mitch McConnell, it is actually wildly out of step with the views of most Americans. A majority of all Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade by a large margin. Fifty four percent want it upheld versus 28% who would have it overturned, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll. A CNN poll from January shows 69% of Americans want to keep Roe v Wade intact and only 30% want it overturned. Nevertheless, Republican Congressional Senators and House Representatives are already strategizing about how to pass federal legislation that will ban abortion nationwide, once the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, according to the Washington Post.
“They are trying to do everything they can, to end abortion and criminalize it,” Miller says of the Republicans. “It’s so callous. Beyond words and it’s sadly part of huge setbacks on voting rights, and trans and LGBTQ rights. It’s part of a plan to deny people their humanity in service of an outdated concept of what they want this country to be. A concept that never really existed and it wasn’t good for most people in this country.”