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Anti-abortion activists who describe themselves as “abolitionists” protest exterior a fertility clinic in North Carolina in April 2024.

Sarah McCammon/NPR


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Sarah McCammon/NPR


Anti-abortion activists who describe themselves as “abolitionists” protest exterior a fertility clinic in North Carolina in April 2024.

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Two years in the past subsequent month, the Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark determination guaranteeing a federal proper to an abortion.

It was an final result a long time within the making – however to abortion opponents, the combat is unfinished. Now they’re setting their sights on banning mifepristone, a drug generally utilized in medical abortions. Abortion rights opponents have filed a number of lawsuits, together with one awaiting a call from the Supreme Courtroom.

Abortion medicine has made the process extra accessible. Since June 2022, the variety of abortions carried out within the U.S. has truly gone up: On common, there have been about 4,000 extra abortions per thirty days in 2023 in comparison with 2022, in keeping with the Society of Household Planning’s WeCount undertaking.

One issue driving that enhance has been the rise in telehealth abortion – the place sufferers obtain abortion medicine within the mail after consulting with a clinician. Telehealth abortions now make up 19% of all abortions within the U.S., in keeping with Wecount.

“It is reasonably priced. It is handy, and it feels extra non-public,” says Jillian Barovic, a midwife and one of many cofounders of Juniper Midwifery, which presents medicine abortion by way of telehealth in six states the place abortion is authorized.

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Efforts to additional limit abortion rights

As abortions proceed regardless of state bans, activists are pushing for additional restrictions, together with the criminalization of sufferers who pursue abortions, and banning procedures like IVF.

T. Russell Hunter leads a gaggle opposing all abortions, with no exceptions – they name themselves “abortion abolitionists.” He accuses mainstream anti-abortion teams of being too prepared to simply accept incremental restrictions inconsistent with their messaging.

“You possibly can’t say, ‘Life begins at conception … however we’ll enable abortion within the first 5 weeks,'” Hunter says. “If life begins at conception, and also you consider that human life have to be protected, effectively, you are caught logically.”

Hunter, who relies in Oklahoma, opposes IVF and believes that embryos ought to have authorized rights. He argues that sufferers who search abortions and anybody who helps them ought to be charged with homicide.

Kristine Harhoef lives in Texas and has been concerned in anti-abortion activism for over a decade. She’s pissed off that even the place abortion is banned, sufferers are nonetheless accessing abortion medicine. She’s been speaking with lawmakers in Texas and neighboring states, making an attempt to advertise laws that will deal with abortion an identical to murder.

“And the penalty might be something from nothing in any respect, if she was really harmless, really pressured into that abortion,” she says, “to a tremendous or neighborhood service, to, sure, some jail time and presumably even the dying penalty.”

What all of it might imply for Republicans in November

The difficulty of abortion rights might be a troublesome needle to string for Republicans.

A number of current polls by Pew and the Public Faith Analysis Institute affirm that a transparent majority of voters say abortion ought to be authorized in lots of or all instances.

And whereas abortion abolitionists take purpose at IVF, Republicans, together with former President Donald Trump, are voicing help for the process. After an Alabama Supreme Courtroom determination dominated that embryos ought to be legally thought of youngsters, Republicans there rushed to move a regulation designed to guard IVF suppliers.

Activists like Harhoef, who help the dying penalty for abortion sufferers, are nonetheless within the minority of abortion opponents. However they’ve made strides in state legislatures, together with a invoice that made it to the Louisiana Home ground in 2022.

Rachel Bitecofer, a Democratic political strategist, says the road between the mainstream anti-abortion rights motion and the abortion abolitionists is sort of skinny.

“[Republicans] have been focusing on these people for 25, 30 years now with ever-increasing hyperbolic rhetoric about abortion and defining any type of abortion as an act of homicide,” Bitecofer mentioned.

“So for those who settle for that abortion is homicide, then it is smart that you’ve fairly inflexible necessities to cease it in any respect prices,” she added.

In at this time’s episode of Think about This, NPR nationwide political correspondent Sarah McCammon dives into the abortion abolitionist motion. Click on the play button on the high of the web page to listen to the total story.

This episode was produced by Karen Zamora and Brianna Scott. It was edited by Megan Pratz and Courtney Dorning. Elissa Nadworny contributed reporting. Our govt producer is Sami Yenigun.



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