Now that the March for Life is over, a snapshot of a shifting abortion landscape

CNA. Jan. 21. This week, health officials in New York City said they plan to begin offering free, city-funded abortion pills at four sexual health clinics, delivering up to 10,000 abortion pills a year. 

The plan, drawing consternation from pro-life advocates, is a product of an increasingly polarized post-Roe v. Wade legislative climate at the local, state, and federal levels. New York state’s constitution explicitly protects abortion access and has done so since 2019; other states, such as Texas and Louisiana, have enacted strong pro-life protections, saving thousands of lives.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, removing a previously-held constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly half a century. The decision did not in itself ban abortion, but rather shifted the question of abortion legalization to a multitude of battlefields across the country, at the state and local levels. 

Since the ruling, state lawmakers have gone in very different directions, with many Democratic-led states introducing measures to expand and protect abortion access, and pro-life measures facing uphill battles even in conservative states. 

At the same time, pro-life advocates are emphasizing the importance of continuing to pass pro-life legislation — not merely in the form of abortion restrictions, but also implementing policies that build a culture where abortion is unnecessary and unthinkable. On Friday, numerous speakers at the 50th annual March for Life urged those present to support pro-family policies. 

“It is our charge today, in this new era, to channel that same determination and hope and prayer that has led you to these streets for 50 years, and use it to make changes,” said Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who helped fight the legal case that led to the overturning of Roe.

“Use it to support women and children; use it to support women when they are pregnant and when they are nurturing a young family; use it to make more affordable quality child care and make it more accessible, use it to support workplace flexibility; use it to improve child support to make fathers equally responsible for their children; use it to provide educational resources for women; use it to improve adoption and foster care systems that fail our children,” she said, to applause from the crowd. 

Several attempts to pass pro-life measures last year faced major pro-abortion opposition and advertising spending, as Americans in five states voted on the issue of abortion during the 2022 midterm elections in November. Three states — California, Michigan, and Vermont — passed constitutional amendments specifically to advance abortion. Citizens in Kentucky weighed a pro-life amendment, and Montana voters considered a measure that promises to protect babies who are born alive after attempted abortions. Both measures failed. 

“… a 2021 article in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found large gaps in the knowledge of pharmacists about chemical abortions. This article reports on the results of a recent FDA-approved study on the feasibility of having pharmacists dispense chemical-abortion pills. In the beginning of the study, pharmacists took a baseline survey that included questions about medication abortion.

“The pharmacists were trained in chemical abortions and in dispensing mifepristone. After the training, the pharmacists dispensed chemical-abortion pills and briefly counseled patients. At the study’s conclusion, approximately one year later, pharmacists took a follow-up survey.”

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