Supreme Court Legitimizes Laws to Shame and Tax Women Who Seek Abortions

The right of women to make their own medical decisions when it comes to pregnancy is in grave danger.

The Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal against a Kentucky law that forces a doctor to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion while the pregnant woman is forced to listen to fetal heartbeat. The sixth circuit had found the law to be Constitutional, and the apex court’s refusal to hear the case validates and legitimizes that decision and the Kentucky law. The Supreme Court declined review without comment.

Republicans in Kentucky and across the country are celebrating.

There is no legitimate medical purpose to this procedure. The sole reason Kentucky and other states create these laws are to make it emotionally and financially more taxing for women who seek abortions and abortion providers who carry out their ethical obligations to provide medical care. Ultrasounds can cost up to $375, which is no barrier for those of means but makes seeking an abortion extraordinarily expensive for poor women without non-federal medical insurance that covers abortions and related services. Fewer than half of all women on Medicaid live in states that provide abortion coverage through state funds. Call this Kentucky’s abortion tax.

But laws like Kentucky’s are designed to do more than induce financial costs. Those laws require women to be mentally tormented and shamed for considering a safe and relatively common medical procedure. Clearly, the law is meant to personify the fetus and tug at the emotional state of someone already at a vulnerable spot. These laws are designed to shame women for having sex, punish them for getting pregnant, and dehumanize them for even considering an abortion.

And Supreme Court today has effectively said that it is cool with these efforts to tax, torment, and shame women.

Methodically and systematically over decades, with bludgeons and with blades, Republicans have bled the Constitutional right to abortion. Mississippi is on the verge of becoming the first state without a single operating abortion clinic. We are perhaps one vote - if not one case - away from the complete demolition of Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court.

This is not a time to kid around. There is no room - none - for purity politics in 2020. We must vote to restore our Republic, regain our rights, and rebuild our country.