As the national pro-life movement celebrated, activists opposing abortion in blue states watched years of setbacks happen in a few days. Still, they are finding different ways of winning.
As pro-life groups nationally celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and as pro-lifers in red states debated how far to go with abortion restrictions, pro-lifers in blue states are watching setbacks they think will take years to undo.
Pro-life lobbyists in states such as California and New York are dealing with a deluge of legislation expanding abortion access—reducing licensing requirements for abortion providers, adding public funding for abortions, shielding abortion clinics from liability for out-of-state patients, and creating state commissions to investigate crisis pregnancy centers.
Blue states are also considering constitutional amendments on abortion rights, which pro-lifers worry would hurt their cause for decades. At this moment, no US state has named abortion protections in its state constitution. The states debating such amendments already have abortion codified in their laws, but adding it to the constitution would keep abortion protected even if political power in the state changed and the legislature reversed its abortion laws.
“In New York and California and other states, it’s like working under Newton’s third law of motion,” said evangelical Jason McGuire, who leads New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. McGuire has worked for 16 years in the state legislature on stemming abortion laws, often the lone lobbyist on the issue alongside the New York Catholic Conference. “Every time something good happens at the national level, we know there’s going to be some pushback at the state level.”
The legislature in Vermont, where abortion is legal up until birth for any reason, passed a constitutional amendment earlier this year stating that “an individual’s …