There is a straight line from America’s broken systems of democracy to the Supreme Court’s catastrophic majority ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. That’s because both abortion access and systems of civic participation and representation are essential for autonomy and equality.
Abortion enables people to exercise self-determination over their bodies and their family lives so that they are not rendered second-class citizens by the unique burdens of pregnancy and childbearing. A functioning democracy protects these very same values: political self-determination requires voters to be able to effectively choose who governs, and the ballot lets voters defend themselves against policies that threaten their rights.
Below, Brennan Center experts examine these failings and what lies ahead.