We’re on the Precipice of a Post-Roe World

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A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court let stand a Texas law creating a system of vigilante legal enforcement against anyone who participates in an abortion after the point of fetal cardiac activity. In effect, Texas’ law bans abortions after about six weeks, which is long before many women even know they’re pregnant. And soon the court will hear arguments on a Mississippi abortion ban that will give the justices the chance to overturn Roe v. Wade directly.

We may be on the precipice of a post-Roe world.

But what does that actually mean? Leslie Reagan is the author of “When Abortion Was a Crime” and “Dangerous Pregnancies.” Reagan has done groundbreaking historical work to reveal what happened when U.S. states began criminalizing abortion in the early 19th century. There are lessons in our past that should inform our future, if we’ll listen.

This is also a particularly personal episode for me.My partner is 33 weeks pregnant. This is our second pregnancy. Both have been unusually dangerous and physically damaging. For the state to say that it will force any people to undergo that against their will is a remarkable assumption of power over individuals. Reagan and I talk about what that means, what the state is saying about the personhood, or lack thereof, of those who become pregnant.

Mentioned:

"Behind the Texas Abortion Law, a Persevering Conservative Lawyer" by Michael S. Schmidt

Book recommendations:

How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics by Laura Biggs

Killing for Life by Carol Mason

Radical Reproductive Justice, edited by Loretta J. Ross, Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, and Pamela Bridgewater

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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