THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE OF ABORTION: A CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT FOR THE FEDERAL INVALIDATION OF RESTRICTIVE STATE ABORTION LAWS

In a conversation at the University of Minnesota Law School in September of 2014, Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg astutely noted that “[t]here will not be a time in the United States again when
a woman of means does not have access to a safe abortion.” This post-Roe fact is comforting to
the privileged few whose reproductive rights are neither in imminent nor remote jeopardy.
However, as Justice Ginsburg sagely warned, “the women who don’t have that wherewithal . . .
will suffer.”2 Although Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States over forty years ago,3
state legislatures have been able to dangerously encroach upon the ability of women to exercise
this right through the imposition of Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP), limits on
the provision of medication abortion, bans on private insurance coverage of abortion, and
increasingly narrow pre-viability bans.4 In the last four years, hundreds of these antiabortion laws
have been enacted at the state level.5 Thus, Justice Ginsburg’s bleak prognosis of the abortion
rights landscape is becoming increasingly accurate due to the demonstrably disproportionate
effects these severely restrictive laws have on the health and economic wellbeing of low-income
women.6 This obstructive and hostile legal environment has given rise to a subversive efforts