The leaked draft from the U.S. Supreme Court signaling the court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that has guaranteed legal abortion in the United States for nearly 50 years, is a radical, rights-denying move.
As a global reproductive justice organization dedicated to expanding access to abortion and contraception for all who need it, Ipas strongly condemns this apparent decision. We have worked in countries around the world for decades and know what happens when countries ban abortion: Women and pregnant people are terrified and confused about the law and care is driven underground. Providers are denounced by their colleagues and patients and may stop providing services.
In Brazil, we’ve seen police raids of abortion clinics, and in Nicaragua we’ve seen doctors stop providing lifesaving treatment because they’re scared of arrest, and in places like El Salvador, and in the past in Nepal and Rwanda, women have been put in jail when abortion is criminalized. These are the kind of injustices that may soon be happening in the United States.
If the U.S. Supreme Court’s intention to overturn Roe becomes a reality, millions of U.S. residents will be denied fundamental rights—to health care, to bodily autonomy, and to freedom; and the United States will join a handful of autocratic, anti-democratic countries intent on restricting access to abortion. The United States is out of step with the rest of the world, which is progressing toward reproductive justice for all. Countries like Benin, Argentina, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have all liberalized their abortion laws recently.
Roe v. Wade is far from perfect. It does not guarantee access to abortion for all. What the Supreme Court seems primed to do is to force even more people to endure hardships for what is essential health care. They may be forced to travel, or to give birth. People of color, who already face discrimination and undue surveillance of their bodies, will be criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes because of this apparent decision.
Though the Supreme Court is signaling its shameful intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must remember that, until that decision is final, abortion is still legal in the United States.
We will continue to fight for access to safe, legal abortion everywhere. It is essential health care, no matter what the Supreme Court says. We must persist, protest, give to abortion funds, and support groups that are working for abortion access—and be loud and clear about our views on abortion access to our friends and politicians. The time is now to voice our dissent to a decision that will decimate abortion access and roll back rights for everyone in the United States.