On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most consequential abortion rights case in nearly 50 years. And on November 1, 2021, the Court also heard oral arguments in two challenges to Texas’ Senate Bill 8, a patently unconstitutional law passed this fall that bans nearly all abortions in the state.
Lesbian and bisexual women, transgender men, two-spirit, intersex, and nonbinary and gender non-conforming people want, need, and receive abortions and the outcome of this case will impact the LGBTQ community. According to the Guttmacher Institute, bisexual, nonbinary, and transgender people are more likely than their heterosexual peers to seek an abortion.
Numerous factors explain LGBTQ people’s disparate need for abortion, such as the link between poverty and lack of access to contraception and abortion rates; the lack of comprehensive and inclusive sex education in schools, which puts LGBTQ youth at risk of unintended pregnancies; and how LGBTQ young people—particularly queer and transgender youth who disproportionately experience homelessness and housing insecurity—may engage in survival sex resulting in an unplanned pregnancy and/or sexual assault.
As we work to secure abortion rights in the U.S. we need to recognize that abortion bans both reflect and reinforce deeply harmful stereotypes about women, and the relative value attached to women’s lives. We also must recognize that such bans impact not only cisgender heterosexual women, but LGBTQ people, too, depriving everyone who needs an abortion of dignity, autonomy over one’s own body, and the ability to make fundamental decisions that determine the course of a person’s life, such as the structure of one’s family, and the ability to secure an educational and economic future.
Interested in learning more? Here are some frequently asked questions about abortion access and how the U.S. Supreme Court can impact your ability to access this critical health care:
What is currently happening at the U.S. Supreme Court in regards to abortion rights?
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering cases out of Mississippi and Texas about whether states can ban or chill providers from administering at least some abortions before fetal viability, or when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb—directly challenging its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In all of these cases, the Court has the potential to severely limit or even effectively eradicate the ability of some people, including LGBTQ people, to end their pregnancies.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a challenge to Mississippi’s 2018 ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion rights advocates, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Mississippi Center for Justice, filed a lawsuit challenging the “blatantly unconstitutional ban” on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. This case has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning that its impact will affect access to abortion not just in the state of Mississippi, but also in states that have not affirmed the right to abortion under state law. The Court heard arguments on December 1, 2021, and its decision will be handed down next year.
The U.S. Supreme Court is also considering two cases challenging Texas’ Senate Bill 8, a near-complete ban on abortions in the state: Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, a case filed by abortion rights advocates, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU, and ACLU of Texas, on behalf of abortion providers, abortion funds, support networks, and clergy members in Texas and United States v. Texas, a challenge filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Court heard arguments on November 1, 2021 and is expected to hand down a decision any day now. The impact of a ruling in favor of the state of Texas and opponents of abortion rights would be limited to that state… for now, but would nonetheless hurt people in need of this important health care service in the largest state in our union.
Please take note that this document only provides general legal information and is not intended as legal advice. For individual legal advice, please contact an attorney.