An op-ed essay on abortion rights The New York Times published on April 11 quoted Professor David S. Cohen.
The essay by ShoutYourAbortion Co-Founder Lindy West argues that a host of state laws that restrict abortion deserve the attention of pro-choice advocates, who tend to focus solely on threats to the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade.
West contends that state-level restrictions are “chipping away at the rights of millions of Americans this second,” noting that there are six states where only one abortion care provider operates.
“For women without means, women who live in rural areas or areas that don’t have providers, or states that are very hostile, they have to jump through hoops that no one has to jump through for any other kind of medical care,” Cohen said. “They have to wait, they have their judgment questioned, they have to be told about phony science, they have to get their parents’ permission if they’re minors, they have to go before a judge if they don’t want to do that, they have their procedure options restricted.”
The essay cited the Supreme Court 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which found that a Texas law imposed such stringent regulations on health care providers that it effectively prevented women from seeking constitutionally protected abortions.
Cohen noted that the judges who will decide whether states have placed an undue burden on providers are often disconnected from the realities of women affected by the laws.
“From their lofted perch, these things don’t seem difficult,” he said. “Waiting another 24 hours, to a justice in Washington, D.C., who’s always had access to the best health care, it’s no big deal. Talking to your parents, when, you know, these people are in their 60s, 70s, 80s, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Having to drive a couple hours. That doesn’t seem like a big deal. Because it’s not the world they know.”