Shortly after an anonymous (likely) Supreme Court clerk leaked Alito’s draft majority opinion regarding Roe v. Wade, abortion activists across the country began preparing for the worst. On June 24th, their fears were confirmed when a 6 to 3 majority struck down the 1973 precedent protecting abortion. The overturning has resulted in at least 13 states which will attempt to ban abortion. In Tennessee, as of this Sunday, July 24th, abortion will be illegal from the point of conception.
In light of the ruling, abortion clinics are preparing to pivot and change their business models of providing abortion services at the few remaining abortion clinics in the state to that of a travel hub. At a press conference long before Roe’s demise, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi president Ashley Coffield announced publicly on May 3rd that the handful of remaining abortion clinics in the state will transition to helping women get abortions outside of Tennessee through the use of “navigators” who will help arrange out-of-state travel.
“We will fight like hell to defend their lives,” she said. “We’ve been preparing for this outcome… Plans have been underway to find patient navigators who will help people access safe and legal abortion outside of Mississippi and Tennessee.”
The closest non-trigger law state from Nashville is Illinois, which is highly unlikely to ban abortion due to its Democratic supermajority. Not to mention, the southern tip of Illinois is a three hour drive from Nashville. To put things bluntly, it’s going to take a lot of resources to move potentially hundreds or thousands of women across state lines.
Not to worry though, pro-abortion activists: almost every major corporation in the country has pledged to cover their employees’ travel expenses if they need to fly out of state for an abortion! Disney, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Lyft, Starbucks, Bank of America, Mastercard, JP Morgan, Yelp, Bumble, Levi’s, Paypal, Zillow, Doordash, Match, Meta, Elon Musk’s Tesla… I’m sure the list is even longer at this point.
Not to be bested by the rest, Dick’s Sporting Goods president Lauren Hobart put out this statement: “In response to today’s ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICKS Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available.”
There is a conspiratorial element to some of the discussion of this online. Why would corporations pour such large amounts of money into paying for abortions? To some, the reason is obvious: paying for an abortion is cheaper than covering maternity leave. Maybe so, but abortion is presently the most unifying issue for the American Left. 84% of college educated Democrats support abortion rights. Conservatives may control the Supreme Court, but the American Left controls the majority of our culture, discourse, and institutions. Though activists play at being the underdog, progressivism is the status quo.
As feminist theorist bell hooks wrote in Feminism is for Everybody: “Without the right to safe, inexpensive, and free abortions they lose all control over their bodies. It's already happening in many conservative states. Women of all classes must continue to make abortions safe, legal, and affordable. If women do not have the right to choose what happens to our bodies we risk relinquishing rights in all other areas of our lives.”
No matter what SCOTUS says, pro-abortion activists will continue to exploit every loophole possible to protect what they consider the most important right. One University of California San Franscico professor is even proposing offering abortions in the Gulf of Mexico in international waters, flying patients by helicopter from southern states like Texas. Abortion defenders are prepared to go for the throat on this issue.
This doesn’t just apply to national level activists and organizations: local activists here in Nashville are similarly rising to the occasion. Back in May, I spoke with an East Nashville woman named Taylor Esche about her experience getting an abortion last year. Esche is the quintessential millennial, progressive businesswoman: an accomplished lifestyle publicist with a beautiful house filled with expensive looking wine bottles, pristine furniture, and books on Wicca. She grew up Catholic; however, she fell into the tried-and-true Catholic tradition of apostasy and was eager enough to brag about her abortion—and the importance of abortion rights in general—to both CNN and Newsweek, while dismissing most of her critics as “trolls” and “white men”. When I spoke with her last, she was planning a pro-choice benefit concert with an unnamed music venue in Nashville to raise money for out-of-state travel fees.
Early indications are that there will be some sort of pro-life reaction to these abortion trafficking efforts, though it’s unclear what they will look like, at the moment. Stacy Dunn, president of Tennessee Right to Life, recently mentioned as much during a press conference, saying that her organization will attempt to “protect our women and girls from marketing efforts of out of state abortion facilities who will try to lure women and their money to their unsafe and unregulated abortion facilities in their state.” As of this writing, those efforts have yet to materialize.
No matter your opinion of abortion, it’s prudent to recognize it won’t be going away any time soon, despite the pro-life movement’s best efforts. Dobbs was merely the end of a shoddy ruling which dictated and federally protected the right to an abortion, not the end of the practice itself. So long as there are true believers, the ability to get an abortion will be maintained and will be funded.