Because that’s what we’re talking about this week. Don’t worry, though: I’m going to stay in my lane. Mostly.
In case you’ve been tuning out the news, and who could blame you: On Monday, a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito for the majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, confirmed what many of us have been gloomily anticipating for years: that the precedents established in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), long considered settled law, are about to be jettisoned. “The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion,” wrote Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward for Politico.
Here’s what “allowing each state to decide” can mean: Twenty-three states already have laws that could be used to restrict legal access to abortion. Under a state law passed by the Texas legislature in September 2021, abortions are prohibited after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant. “The law empowers private citizens to sue anyone who ‘aids or abets’ a prohibited abortion,” the Texas Tribune reported in March 2022. “Those who sue could be awarded at least $10,000 if they win.”
Snitches get riches, in other words.
I believe abortion is health care. I support abortion access for anyone who needs it. But I’m not a lawyer or a legislator, so I’m using this platform to share some resources about my own specialty: language, messaging, and branding, all of which have played, and continue to play, outsize roles in the ongoing fight for safe and legal abortions.