Here Comes John Roberts, There Goes Roe v. Wade

Supporters of abortion rights prepare for the worst as chief justice wins confirmation

Even while pro-choice groups are scrambling to figure out what will happen state by state, they may have to pay as much attention to what’s going on in Congress. “It’s going to be worse than it was pre-Roe,” warns Gloria Feldt, author of The War on Choice. “Then the fight was only at the state level.” Already Senator Rick Santorum, a fierce opponent of abortion, has said he would support legislation that would make it illegal to cross a state line to get one if Roe were overturned.

Advocates don’t have time to worry about such a law yet, though. For now, most are using their energy to prepare for the imminent crises. This defensive stance leaves little time for being thoughtful about the future, according to Wendy Chavkin, chair of the advocacy group Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

“We’ve certainly realized since the last election how critically important it was to have a long-term strategy,” says Chavkin. “The problem is that we’re so busy fighting brush fires that we have no time to come up with one.”

Sharon Lerner is a senior fellow at the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano Graduate School at the New School.

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