What would it mean in Pennsylvania if Roe v. Wade was overturned?
Before the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973, abortion was a criminal offense in Pennsylvania. So women in need of abortions had to seek an illegal abortion and avoid getting caught.
In Philadelphia, Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project, recalled that there were hospital wards full of women injured and dying from botched abortions. Women killed using knitting needles to attempt their own abortions.
“What we all know is whether abortion is illegal or not, women have abortions," Tracy said.
President-elect Donald Trump reiterated Sunday on 60 Minutes that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, but acknowledged that such a change can't happen overnight.
“Having to do with abortion, if it ever were overturned it would go back to the states,” Trump said. Asked if some women wouldn’t be able to get an abortion in their state, he added, “They’ll perhaps have to go to another state. … We’ll see what happens. It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go.”
Regardless of how distant the possibility is, that doesn't lessen the risk, Tracy said.
“We should take him at his word,” she said. "It's not at all extreme to be very, very worried."
The Women's Law Project challenges gender discrimination in a number of areas, including reproductive rights and abortion access. They've already gotten more calls from people hoping to volunteer since Trump was elected, and Tracy vowed to battle any efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“There is no way I believe all the rights we have won in the last 50 years are going to be overturned in four years’ time,” Tracy said. “We are not going to let it happen.”
Women's Way, another Philly nonprofit that advocates for women and girls, echoed a willingness to fight a Trump administration on the issue.
"Women's Way remains very concerned about the future of reproductive rights in this country, especially with all of the state restrictions enacted over the years," Women's Way said in news release. "Women would no longer have the constitutional protection to make their own decisions about their bodies and seek appropriate health care safely and legally ... We remain committed to defending reproductive justice."