Wednesday, December 1, 2021 | News

Reproductive freedom in the U.S. hangs by a thread

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is being heard by the Supreme Court today, will likely define the future of reproductive freedom in the United States.

This case centers around a Mississippi law that will ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy—a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1973 on Roe v. Wade. And if overturned, the legality of abortion will be left to the states and abortion could be banned or severely restricted in half of the U.S.—particularly in the South and Midwest. The impact will be felt most acutely by Black, brown and Indigenous people, as well as people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those struggling to make ends meet.

“This is just one more shameful example of the culture of white supremacy and the anti-rights movement intention to totally deny reproductive freedom, human rights, and essential health care, particularly for millions of Black, brown and other marginalized people in the U.S. and globally,” says Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas.

The law would further undermine the U.S.’s role in promoting and protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in the U.S. and around the world. By denying reproductive rights to its own citizens, the U.S. joins countries where abortion is either banned outright or highly restricted, and it aligns U.S. foreign policy, including the Helms Amendment and the Global Gag Rule, with domestic policy.

At Ipas, we know what these bans look like: providers are denounced by their colleagues and patients, and many stop providing abortions. Women and pregnant people are terrified and confused about the law and care is driven underground. We’ve seen police raids of abortion clinics in Brazil, and in Nicaragua we’ve seen doctors stop providing lifesaving treatment because they’re scared of arrest. We do not want to see these injustices here,” adds Kumar.

Abortion is an essential health care service and a human right. A person’s right to decide whether or when to have a child is essential for social, economic, and racial equality, reproductive autonomy and the right to determine their own future. 

We stand with advocates, activists, abortion providers and others who have dedicated their lives to helping people access abortion care. We will continue to work with partners in the U.S. and around the world to fight for bodily autonomy and reproductive justice for all.

Ipas is an international reproductive justice non-governmental organization working to expand access to abortion and contraception.

For more information contact: fagann@ipas.org

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