Professor David S. Cohen appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show to discuss recent efforts across the country to enact stricter abortion laws.
“The states have been very active in . . . restricting abortion in all different creative ways,” Cohen commented. However, measures like Alabama’s proposed ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and even Arkansas’ proposed 12-week ban are “flatly unconstitutional . . . symbolic measures,” Cohen said, that will never become active laws. Yet, despite their unconstitutionality, such measures “impose real costs,” on the citizens in their respective states, Cohen argued. First, because they send a signal that abortion is not welcome in the state and, secondly, force the states, and ultimately, taxpayers, to foot the bill for legal challenges that will ultimately be successful, Cohen said.
Cohen argued that the people lobbying for safer abortions, should be looking at policies that aim to open more safe - women-centered - clinics. Regardless, Cohen concluded, no one benefits from anti-abortion extremists who protest doctors at their homes, stalk clinic workers and destroy clinics in an effort to deter abortions.
David S. Cohen’s scholarship explores the intersection of constitutional law and gender, emphasizing sex segregation, masculinity, and violence against abortion providers. He also is co-authoring a book about targeted harassment of abortion providers, tentatively titled “Anti-Abortion Terrorism,” forthcoming in the next year from Oxford University Press.