Analysis: States Respond To Overruling Of Roe v. Wade
Since June, when the right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and retracted the constitutional right to abortion, many states have enacted onerous restrictions or outright bans on abortion. In states like California, the right to abortion has been safeguarded by legislation and judicial interpretations of the California Constitution. But if in the future, Republican governors in California appoint a majority of conservative justices to the state supreme court, the right to abortion will be imperiled.
On November 8, voters in three states ” California, Michigan and Vermont – will decide whether to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions. People in Kentucky will vote on an amendment that specifically excludes the right to abortion from constitutional protection. In August, Kansas voters rejected a similar amendment that would have explicitly said that its constitution does not provide the right to abortion.
Guest – Law and Disorder co-host and legal scholar Marjorie Cohn discusses why its crucial that states amend their constitutions to protect the right to abortion. Marjorie is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, who writes a regular column at Truthout called Human Rights and Global Wrongs. She has published several books and does political and legal media commentary for local, national and international media outlets.
Attorney Deborah LaBelle: Planned Parenthood v. State of Michigan
Deborah LaBelle is a Michigan attorney and writer whose work centers on constitutional and civil rights in class actions and community representation utilizing a human rights framework. Ms. LaBelle has been lead counsel in over a dozen class action lawsuits that have successfully expanded the civil and constitutional rights of her clients in both federal and state courts, including before the U.S. Supreme Court and in international fora.
Ms. LaBelle has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Lawyers Guilds Law for the People Award, the National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Public Justice Foundation, and the Federal Bar Associations Wade McCree Jr. Award; Michigan ACLU Civil Libertarian of the Year Award; as well as several others too long to list here.
She is currently co-counsel (with me and others) on the Flint Water class action litigation ” a case in which we successfully argued to the Michigan Supreme Court that our state constitution has embedded within it the fundamental due process right to bodily integrity.
What brings her here today, is Ms. LaBelles most recent involvement in the historic case of Planned Parenthood v. State of Michigan. This case was triggered by the nation-wide crisis created by the U.S. Supreme Court in its reversal of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson. Dobbs awoke a long-dormant 1931 felony statute in Michigan which criminalizes all medical and legal actions taken to support a person who seeks or needs an abortion. This month, in the Planned Parenthood case, the Michigan Court of Claims issued a historic state-wide injunction against that criminal law, holding that it violated the now-recognized Michigan constitutional right to bodily integrity. While this injunction is still in effect (and inevitably on its way to being appealed), we have seen another pro-choice victory in Michigan, that is, successfully getting Proposition 3, a constitutional amendment referendum, on the ballot that would explicitly recognize the constitutional right to abortion in Michigan.