The Supreme Court of the United States majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade leaves many questions, including the future of women’s health and other rights protected by legal precedents. USC experts believe the opinion released Friday will deepen inequality for women — and could impact voter decisions in the upcoming midterm elections.
The High Court opinion leaves access to abortion to the states. Professor of Clinical Nursing Cynthia Sanchez notes however that 13 States were ready for this day. Lawmakers in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and other Republican-led states have crafted abortion bans that were triggered by the advisory issued Friday. Economics and politics will determine whether a woman can access abortion, she warned.
“The disenfranchisement of patients always has a greater impact on the most vulnerable,” said Sanchez, of USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. “Women with the resources will be able to seek care in other states that don’t have these repressive policies, which means those without the resources will be hit the hardest.”
Abortion rights: California offers the most protections
California offers the most abortion protections in the United States, and with SB 1375state lawmakers are considering allowing first-trimester care by nurse practitioners, expanding the number of providers beyond just doctors who perform abortions.
Despite better access to abortions, California still has room to improve access to contraception, according to Dima Qatoassociate professor of clinical pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy.
Expanding access to birth control – emergency and preventive contraception – in local pharmacies should also be a priority.
Dima QatoUSC School of Pharmacy
A 2020 Health Affairs study she co-authored found that not all California pharmacies prescribe emergency and preventative contraception. In Los Angeles County, for example, only 1 in 10 pharmacies provided the service, Qato noted.
“Expanding access to birth control — emergency and preventative contraception — at local pharmacies should also be a priority,” Qato said. “All pharmacies should be required to carry and mandated to dispense a contraceptive to anyone who requests it with or without a prescription. Title X funding can be used to fund the costs of those looking for contraceptives at a pharmacy.
Although health experts say abortion is a public health issue, for politicians it is a tool to boost voter turnout. Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 politicians used abortion as a corner issue to motivate voters to a single issue. It has taken on greater importance this year. With the midterm elections just months away, control of Congress is at stake and candidates are taking advantage of the abortion issue.
Abortion rights could motivate voters on both sides
“In the last midterm elections, social issues motivated voters on both the right and left to run,” said Christian Grose, political scientist at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and academic director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. “When the economy is bad, political parties have used social issues like abortion to motivate their base.
“That’s been an effective tactic of Republican candidates recently,” Grose added. “However, this time the abortion issue may very well help Democrats and it strongly mobilizes their voter base in what could be a Republican year.”
Using abortion as an electoral issue carries risks. Polls show that most Americans support abortion. A Gallup poll in May showed that 85% of Americans support abortion, although 50% support access only under certain circumstances. A Pew Research Center surveyyou shows that 61% think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
This time, the abortion issue may very well help the Democrats.
Christian GroseUSC Dornsife
“Abortion policies and the choices of women of childbearing age and their families should not just be a flag for political parties to wave,” said Pamela McCannassociate professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy.
“When we use partisan shortcuts and demonize one side or the other, we lose sight of the really crucial features of politics,” McCann said. “What are the current results that we see in the world and find unacceptable? What are the possible changes we could make to improve this situation? How can we implement this change? »
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