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SMU Law Review





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The Supreme Court’s momentous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn fifty years of precedent on the constitutional right to abortion represents a sea of change, not only in constitutional law, but also in the public health landscape. Although state laws on abortion are still evolving after Dobbs, the decision almost immediately wreaked havoc on the delivery of medical care for both patients seeking abortion care and those not actively seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

This Article also argues that focusing the public’s attention on the deleterious consequences of abortion bans for health care beyond wanted abortion care could help fend off further restrictions on abortion. Post-Dobbs, abortion policy is largely in the hands of voters, as state legislation and ballot initiatives now dictate the fate of abortion rights. Exposing Dobbs’s ripple effects on forms of health care that are less stigmatized than wanted abortion care could help educate the public on the links between abortion and a wide array of health care issues. Informing the public about the wide-ranging health care consequences of overturning Roe could help reframe abortion bans as government mandates that interfere with the physician–patient relationship and harm women’s health. Reframing abortion as a core health care concern for the public—as opposed to a debate about a constitutional right to privacy—is a potentially powerful strategy for resisting anti-abortion legislation post-Dobbs.




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