The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has renewed debate about the future of Roe v. Wade. Mary Ann Dzuback, chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences, suspects that conservative justices will continue chipping away at reproductive choice, rather than mount a frontal assault on the decision. But she warns that by undermining Roe’s guarantee of reproductive choice, the court risks its own reputation and authority.
Anti-abortion groups are well known for demonstrating and sidewalk counseling at women’s reproductive health facilities, but a Massachusetts statute criminalizes even peaceful expression on public sidewalks near these clinics. An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case will determine the constitutionality of Massachusetts’ selective exclusion law, which applies only to streets and sidewalks near reproductive health-care facilities. “If Massachusetts can close off the sidewalks surrounding reproductive health centers to peaceful expressive activity, then the government can prohibit expression in a wide range of circumstances,” says John Inazu, JD, First Amendment expert and associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.