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Roe v. Wade is the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the right to abortion. And while one would assume that the promise of Roe v. Wade—affirming the legal right of a woman to attain an abortion if she so chooses—would go hand in hand with access to abortion, the reality is that both rights and access to abortion care have been steadily restricted by anti-choice policymakers since the case was decided 45 years ago.

The Roe decision placed abortion in the hands of women, allowing them to better determine their futures, operate with greater autonomy, and achieve a level of equality in society; however, the decision has loopholes that allow continued restriction of abortion for certain groups. Moreover, this systematic and calculated subversion of the promise of Roe v. Wade most harshly affects low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, and others at the margins.

Explicit in Roe is flexibility for states to limit abortion at various stages of pregnancy, which has led to many barriers that have risen in number since 1973. For example, the Hyde Amendment has empowered states to refuse Medicaid coverage of abortion to enrollees: Only 17 states allocate state funding to allow Medicaid to cover abortion procedures. Similarly, women of color are more likely to live in areas without access to abortion clinics, making the entire procedure more lengthy, expensive, and harrowing for those populations.

45 Ways Trump and Congress Threaten the Promise of Roe v. Wade – Center for American Progress

Under the Trump administration, there has been a particularly ferocious effort to deny women their fundamental rights and limit access to abortion, as well as an array of other reproductive health services.


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