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Abortion Bans Are a Tool of Political Repression

July 05, 2022
Emily Hencken Ritter and Jennifer Barnes


In analysis for Political Violence At A Glance, an IGCC-supported blog dedicated to political violence and its alternatives, Emily Hencken Ritter, associate professor at Vanderbilt University, and Jennifer Barnes, a PhD student at the same university, analyze criminalizing abortion is a tactic of discriminatory political repression.

On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court released a decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned the precedent of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected the right to an abortion. The decision leaves the question of abortion rights up to individual states, with 11 states already making abortion illegal or heavily restricted and another 11 set to do the same soon.

The decision delegates the policy to subnational and private actors, allowing them to be repressors rather than the federal government itself. Criminalizing abortion is a tactic of discriminatory political repression, one that highlights the cooperation between different actors to control women’s lives.

Read the full blog post at Political Violence At A Glance.