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How SCOTUS abortion case outcomes could affect us all

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Courtesy ACLU/Associated Press
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An Out in the Bay legal analyst says the US Supreme Court's anticipated decision in Missouri abortion case could jeopardize LGBTQ rights.

How deeply are our most personal rights threatened by abortion cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court? Along with abortion, how much are our rights to marry whomever we want, have (consensual) sex the way we like and with whomever we want, and have gender-affirming surgery - for example - also at risk?

Until recently, it seemed it had been many years since our most basic rights were being debated in the Supreme Court of the United States. Not anymore. Abortion rights are under attack in a way they have not been for decades, and federal courts journalist Lisa Keen tells Out in the Bay that those attacks also jeopardize LGBTQ and other "personal bodily integrity" rights.

In December, SCOTUS justices heard arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after just 15 weeks of pregnancy. Many legal observers believe the court’s conservative 6-3 majority could undercut the precedents set in Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the 1973 and 1992 decisions that have upheld abortion rights. How deeply are those rights threatened and what could be the domino effect on queer rights especially?

"If it becomes OK for states to say whether or not a woman must carry her pregnancy to term whether she wants to or not, whether it threatens her life or not," said Keen, "then it doesn't seem at all far-fetched for the court to say it's OK for states to regulate other very personal decisions concerning one's bodily integrity ... who you have sex with, whether you choose to have your uterus or breasts removed, whether you request transition surgery, or use PrEP or use a condom."

Keen is a national politics and legal affairs correspondent for the Bay Area Reporter and other LGBTQ publications nationwide. She shares her expert analysis with guest host Christopher Beale on this week’s Out in the Bay – Queer Radio + Podcast on key abortion cases and on other cases directly attacking LGBTQ rights, including challenges to queer-friendly books in libraries and schools.

Please help us keep bringing LGBTQ news, voices and stories to the world by making a tax-deductible donation. Out in the Bay – Queer Radio + Podcast is a non-profit, independent production. We receive no funds from podcast platforms, NPR, nor from radio stations that air Out in the Bay weekly. We rely on listener support. Donate links on Out in the Bay’s website should take you to a Media Alliance PayPal interface with the notation: “Purpose: Support Out in the Bay.” Your gift will be earmarked for Out in the Bay, which is under Media Alliance’s 501c3 non-profit umbrella.

This week’s feature was hosted and edited by Christopher Beale; produced by him and Out in the Bay founder Eric Jansen. Christopher J. Beale is a queer independent radio host, producer and journalist based in San Francisco. His website is christopherjbeale.com.

Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.