Plan C
Mother Jones|September/October 2019
Millions of women are already living in the post-Roe world. Abortion rights activists are preparing for whatever’s next
By Nina Liss-Schultz. Ilustrations by Noma Bar

When lawmakers in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky passed legislation this year effectively ending all or most abortions in their states, it seemed to confirm what many Americans, pro-choice and anti-abortion alike, have long anticipated: The post-Roe era is coming. What would that new landscape look like? For those who protested the new laws with red cloaks and coat hangers, it’s a nightmarish mashup of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the bad old days of back-alley abortions. Meanwhile, the president of Americans United for Life scoffs at such “ominous warnings,” insisting that “women can, and will, flourish in a society that does not constitutionalize abortion on demand.”

This moment has been a long time coming, the result of a steadily building backlash against choice. Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973; the effort to undo it began soon after with a proposed constitutional amendment declaring the fetus a person. Since then, states have enacted more than 1,200 restrictions on abortion—more than a third of them since 2010—casting them as measures to protect women’s health, parental rights, or religious freedom. President Donald Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court have provided an opening for anti-choice activists to solidify these gains and strike directly at Roe through a favorable ruling on an anti-abortion statute.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MOTHER JONESView All

TRUE STORIES

To beat anti-science trolls, sometimes you have to think like one.

4 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

THE MOTHER OF CONSPIRACIES

How QAnon found a home in parenting groups

10 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

TO DEPOSE A PRESIDENT

Trump is about to lose his biggest defense gainst the women suing him for defamation.

6 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

March to Washington

NIKEMA WILLIAMS ISN’T AS WELL KNOWN AS STACEY ABRAMS, BUT THE WOMAN WHO WILL FILL JOHN LEWIS’ SEAT REPRESENTS A DIFFERENT—AND FORMIDABLE— KIND OF POWER.

8 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

RED STATE REBELLION

Can Utah—of all places—show voters how to seize power from conservative supermajorities?

10+ mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

LOCK HIM UP?

Why Donald Trump could be the first president to face criminal charges

7 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

THE RACIST NEXT TIME

Trump rode bigotry to the White House. The next Trump could too.

5 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

LADIES WHO LAUNCH

Trump propelled many women to join the liberal resistance. Now they’re determined to remake their communities.

7 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

Keeping the Faith

RAPHAEL WARNOCK IS BRAVING THE SWAMP TO REDEEM GEORGIA. AND AMERICA.

9 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021

Back From The Brink

Trump brought the nation to the threshold of autocracy. The damage won’t be easily reversed.

9 mins read
Mother Jones
January/February 2021