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What about Autonomy? Applying the Legal Strategy underlying Marriage Equality to Abortion Rights

Nell Ethridge

In the first month of the 2015 legislative session, state lawmakers introduced more than one hundred bills regulating abortion in more than half of the states. In many states, although abortion is technically legal, onerous regulations make it difficult, if not functionally impossible, for a woman to exercise her constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. Compare this to the marriage equality movement, which has seen unprecedented success in recent years and looks poised to become the law of the land later this month, when the Supreme Court hands down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Parts of larger movements for LGBT and women’s equality, abortion and marriage rights represent two concrete indices on which to measure the general advancement of progressive social attitudes towards these two classes of individuals. Both movements have garnered success and have faced setbacks along the way, but while the marriage equality movement has made unprecedented strides in recent years, the same time period has seen the retraction and restriction of a woman’s right to control her body. One of the reasons for these divergent trajectories is the way in which courts have framed the right itself.[1]

Image via Politico.com
Image AP via Politico.com.

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