If the circulating draft is anything like the decision by the Supreme Court, there is but one remedy: amending the Constitution.
To that end, here is a draft article of amendment:
Section 1. The right to reproductive autonomy must not be denied or abridged by the United States nor by any State.
Section 2. No pregnancy may be terminated upon viability, except when it particularly threatens the mother’s life.
Section 3. The Congress has the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
What does that mean?
- Abortion will be legal and not subject to the whims of madmen. Any pregnancy may be terminated, whether for rape or incest or any other reason, up to viability.
- Pregnancy cannot be terminated once a fetus can live outside the womb. The only exception to that is when continuing the pregnancy or inducing labor or caesarean birth would result in death or major health complications for the mother.
I am not sure this would be the best language for a Constitutional amendment, but it’s what I think would work. Lawyers and experts will surely propose their own language and whatever is eventually ratified will differ somewhat.
It will take time and work to achieve such an amendment, but it is the only reasonable guarantee of a natural right to reproductive autonomy. The people of the United States will support the passage of such an amendment, though it will take a decade to get there.
First, what is required to amend the Constitution? Either you go through a convention (called by two-thirds of the states; has never happened before) or you get two-thirds of both Houses of Congress to propose it to the states. Three-fourths of the states (that’s 38 total) must ratify it.
Efforts will be made on both methods of proposal. Liberal states will quickly pass resolutions calling for a constitutional convention, and there will be proposals in states with mixed government, some of which may pass. There will be proposals floated in Congress. But without a reshaped politics, it will come down to grinding out better elected representatives to make it happen.
For the court to strip away women’s rights would reshape politics. There will either be moderate pro-choice Republicans elected, or that party will be throttled in their ambitions to allow for a mixture of independents, third-parties, and Democrats to do the work needed to enshrine this natural right in our written Constitution. Some of that will require new political alliances and forms. Some of it will result naturally from the media publication of the harms of denying women bodily autonomy.
That last part means citizens will suffer very real oppression from a pseudo-Christian cult’s misinterpretation of scripture and law. Some will die from bleeding and sepsis. Some will be imprisoned for working to secure healthcare for the vulnerable. But we live in a media age where hiding or dismissing the real harms will be impossible. Politicians, likely including Republicans, will have no choice but to affirm women’s rights.
That’s not to say it will be an easy struggle, but it will be necessary and it will happen. All of it will take a lot of work and voting. Please register to vote. Go on Ballotpedia and other resources to look into who’s and what’s on your ballot and when you vote on it.
There are other things that will likely happen along the way. The Supreme Court will be reformed. The filibuster rule may go away. But none of that changes the fundamental goal and outcome: Constitution or bust.