AP

With Roe over, some fear rollback of LGBTQ and other rights

Jun 24, 2022, 10:03 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 12:25 am

Abortion right activists gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The...

Abortion right activists gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to ban abortion stirred alarm Friday among LGBTQ advocates, who feared that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry.

In the court’s majority opinion overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Samuel Alito said the decision applied only to abortion. But critics of the court’s conservative majority gave the statement no credence.

“I don’t buy that at all,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University and faculty director of its Institute for National and Global Health Law. “It really is much more extreme than the justices are making it out to be.”

He added: “It means that you can’t look to the Supreme Court as an impartial arbiter of constitutional rights because they’re acting more as culture warriors.”

Gostin and others pointed to a separate concurring opinion in which Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should review other precedents, including its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, a 2003 decision striking down laws criminalizing gay sex and a 1965 decision declaring that married couples have a right to use contraception.

“Today is about this horrifying invasion of privacy that this court is now allowing, and when we lose one right that we have relied on and enjoyed, other rights are at risk,” said Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, who is now running as a Democrat for the Ohio House.

Abortion opponents celebrated the potential for states to ban abortion after nearly 50 years of being prevented from doing so. Some argued that the case did not have implications beyond that, noting Alito’s words.

“And to ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Alito wrote. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

Kristen Waggoner, legal director for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped defend the Mississippi abortion law at issue in the ruling, said the high court’s decision makes it clear that “the taking of human life is unlike any other issue.” She said raising other issues shows the weakness of critics’ arguments about abortion.

Still, said Paul Dupont, a spokesman for the conservative anti-abortion American Principles Project, conservatives are optimistic about the potential for future victories on cultural issues, though getting more states to ban abortion is “a huge enough battle.”

“If there is a thought that this could apply elsewhere, you know, they’re not going to say it here, and we’re just going to have to see,” Dupont said.

Other factors could protect those rulings on birth control and LGBTQ rights, too. The Obergefell decision that legalized same-sex marriage was based on equal protection, and hundreds of thousands of couples have relied on it to wed, a precedent that many courts would be loath to disturb.

Still, a sharp increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the U.S. and opposition to specific kinds of birth control on the right have advocates concerned that those rights are vulnerable.

The possibility worried some of the scores of people at a Friday evening abortion-rights rally outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. including Rija Nazir, a 21-year-old community organizer from Wichita for a voting-rights group.

She wore a pink cowboy hat festooned with a button featuring a “cowboy uterus” drawing for a “Vote Neigh” campaign against an anti-abortion measure on the statewide ballot Aug. 2.

“They’re going to go for LGBTQ rights first and then same-sex marriage next. Who knows? Maybe interracial marriage, birth control,” Nazir said. “They’re not going to stop at abortion.”

Some abortion opponents treat some forms of contraception as forms of abortion, particularly IUDs and emergency birth control such as Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill. Lawmakers in Idaho and Missouri last year discussed banning state funding for emergency contraception, and Idaho prevents public schools or universities from dispersing it.

“It’s all interconnected, because at its base, birth control and abortion are both types of health care that help people have bodily autonomy,” said Mara Gandal-Powers, director of birth control access for the National Women’s Law Center, which supports abortion rights. “I’m very concerned about where this is going to go.”

The Supreme Court’s three most liberal members argued that the majority decision “breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law” and “places in jeopardy” other rights.

At the White House, President Joe Biden pledged to do everything in his power to defend a woman’s right to have an abortion in states where it will be banned. He warned that the ruling could undermine rights to contraception and gay marriage: “This is an extreme and dangerous path.”

Then there is Thomas’ concurring opinion, which Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the pro-LGBTQ-rights Human Rights Campaign, called an invitation for “stirring up fringe organizations, fringe politicians who want to harm the LGBTQ community.”

“There are clearly members of the court who have an outdated notion of what America looks like today and have a fantasy of returning to their painted idealism of a 1940s, 1950s America, certainly not what it really was in the 1940s and ’50s,” she said. “And that is terrifying.”

Jason Pierceson, a University of Illinois political scientist, said he doesn’t see the conservative majority stopping with abortion.

“They are sending signals to the conservative legal movement, which has a lot of momentum right now because of this victory, to keep going and to keep bringing cases to them over the next several years that will give them opportunities to go further,” Pierceson said.

Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer for the LGBTQ-rights group Lambda Legal, added: “It is an extremist assault on the privacy, self-determination, dignity and equality of every person in our country.”

___

This story has been corrected to show that Lawrence Gostin’s title is faculty director, not director, of the Georgetown Institute.

___

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko in Washington, Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, and Lindsay Whitehurst, in Salt Lake City, contributed to this report.

___

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

___

For AP’s full coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, go to https://apnews.com/hub/abortion

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

2 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

3 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

8 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

9 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

11 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

With Roe over, some fear rollback of LGBTQ and other rights