Brow Beat

Samantha Bee Gets “Hysterical” About the Future of Roe v. Wade, and You Should Too

Samantha Bee got serious on Wednesday night’s Full Frontal, devoting a segment to discuss the possible consequences of overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case. With Anthony Kennedy’s retirement looming on July 31, women all over the country are worried for the safety of their reproductive rights. The loss of his key swing vote will almost certainly endanger Roe v. Wade, which he voted to uphold in 1992. Its possible overturn only seems more likely because of the anti-abortion track record of Donald Trump’s pick for Kennedy’s replacement, Brett Kavanaugh.

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Bee began by addressing criticism that talk of overturning Roe v. Wade is hysterical speculation or a left-wing scare tactic, showing clips of anti-abortion politicians promising to overturn the case that historically secured women’s right to safe, legal abortions, including two clips from one of Trump’s debates with Hillary Clinton. In response to a question about overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump responded, “That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

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In the second half of the segment, Bee showed a map of states that have found workarounds for Roe v. Wade already. “States have already been pushing the limits, finding ways to make abortion de facto illegal, or at least profoundly complicated and traumatic,” she said. In Mississippi and Louisiana, abortion is illegal after 15 weeks. Iowa has enacted a six week abortion ban, which, Bee points out, outlaws pregnancy termination before most women even know whether or not they’re pregnant. Four states—Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota, and South Dakota—have “trigger laws” that will ban abortion immediately upon the reversal of the Roe v. Wade ruling.

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The last map she showed illustrated that at least 22 states would likely ban abortion completely if the Supreme Court decision was overturned. Most of these states are in the south and Midwest, disproportionately affecting poor women of color in rural areas, Bee noted. “Meanwhile, a wealthy person—like, let’s say, publicly anti-choice politician Tim Murphy—could still hypothetically send his mistress to a state where it’s legal to have an abortion,” Bee said. “As if mistresses weren’t expensive enough already.”

With the health and safety of millions of American women at stake, Bee chose to end on a positive note, encouraging viewers to channel their outrage into action. “If you’re concerned about women losing a right that we’ve had for a generation, be vocal about it. March, call your representatives,” she suggested. “And for the Lilith Fair’s sake, vote!”

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