In June 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion for almost 50 years. With this decision, the U.S. joined a handful of autocratic, anti-democratic countries bent on denying human rights and restricting abortion—while the rest of the world is expanding abortion access. Since then, many states have enacted new legal restrictions, in some cases extreme enough to effectively ban abortion entirely. While rights vary state by state, overall people in the U.S. now have less reproductive freedom—with Black, indigenous and people of color facing the greatest barriers to bodily autonomy.
But abortion restrictions are out of step with what Americans believe and want. Ipas-commissioned research finds that nine in 10 Americans oppose total abortion bans. Indeed, since the end of Roe v. Wade, some states have responded by passing laws to explicitly protect abortion rights and expand access.
Our research proves that only a small but well-organized minority has succeeded in rolling back abortion rights in the U.S. But the majority can and is fighting back—and Ipas is part of that fight. We’re working with U.S. partners to:
- Document the human rights violations caused by state-level abortion bans and hold states accountable
- Raise public awareness that self-managed abortion with pills is safe, effective and a vital option to increase abortion access
- Connect our U.S. partners with Ipas’s powerful global network of abortion rights experts and champions to share evidence, strategies and lessons learned for building sustainable abortion access—even in places with the most restrictive laws
- Convene leaders from the reproductive justice movement and other social movements to assess state-level abortion ecosystems and create action plans to protect and advance abortion access in those states
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade officially denies millions of U.S. residents fundamental rights—to health care, to bodily autonomy, and to freedom.”
Read the full statement from Anu Kumar, Ipas President and CEO
How the Dobbs ruling put the U.S. in violation of its human rights obligations
The June 2022 Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization eliminated federal constitutional protection for access to abortion in the United States. Following Dobbs, more than a dozen states fully banned abortion, and many others passed or proposed increased restrictions. This violates a range of rights under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), including the rights to life, to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, to privacy, to be free from discrimination, and to free expression and movement.
On October 17-18, 2023, the United Nations Human Rights Committee reviews U.S. compliance with the ICCPR, including the impact of Dobbs on its human rights obligations. Ipas and partners submitted a report to the Committee that details the human rights violations caused by Dobbs in the U.S.
A group of U.S. state legislators traveled to Mexico to learn from that country’s abortion rights movement, including Ipas Latin America and the Caribbean.
The impacts of Roe’s repeal circle the globe
What happens in the United States often has an outsized influence on the rest of the world. The overturn of Roe v. Wade has not only caused grave harm in the U.S., but also in many other countries where emboldened opposition movements are using the decision to fuel anti-abortion efforts.