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If You're Pro-Choice You Should Take Heed

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The North Carolina state legislature recently a pushed forward a motorcycle safety bill which had in it a provision to limit abortion rights. North Carolina is the latest in a string of Republican states to attempt to restrict women's access to reproductive care. But why now, 40 years after Roe v. Wade, which ruled abortion a matter a privacy, are we seeing such a concerted attack from the right? What do Republicans hope to accomplish?

A few weeks ago the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Anti-abortion rights conservatives looked on this display of judicial activism with hope: If the Supreme Court would go so far as to overturn a law from the 1960's, perhaps Roe v. Wade could be next. And their wish may come true! In 2007, the court ruled that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 did not violate a woman's right to privacy.

By going after abortion in Republican controlled states, the GOP is using one of its oldest political strategies -- right up there with exploiting white racism for votes. The goal is to get people to bring legal challenges against the new laws, so that a case may be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. The more lawsuits, the greater the chance it will happen. This same maneuver was how the right succeeded in gutting the Voting Rights Act. Conservatives had been attacking the law since the 1960's, at the state level, and finally, in 2013, it paid off. It all comes down to who is sitting on the bench.

Abortion rights advocates must take into account the political persuasion of the current Supreme Court when preparing their challenges to repressive anti-choice laws. Now might not be the time to file a lawsuit. It would be smarter to wait for a different bench -- of course, that could take years. Unfortunately, in the meantime women will suffer.