In Dobbs v. Jackson, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and women’s constitutional right to abortion and full autonomy over their reproductive health choices. The ruling is the first time the Supreme Court has eliminated an existing constitutional right, and the overturning of this 50-year-old precedent marks a monumental shift in our country for women’s reproductive health, constitutional rights, and gender equity. As an organization committed to gender equity, we care about women’s rights, and we are concerned about the implications of this decision.
Abortion is likely to be illegal soon in around half the states, and we can anticipate strong political efforts to increase the number of states banning the procedure and restricting access to certain forms of contraception. We can also anticipate that abortions will continue, but for some women lacking resources they will be potentially dangerous as well as illegal.
The overturning of Roe will have implications for women’s higher education, graduation rates and employment trajectories.
Women struggling with poverty will be hardest hit by the low level of support we give to women who give birth in this country. Our country has higher maternal mortality rates than any of our high-income peer nations, with the rate for Black mothers nearly three times that of white mothers. Many women do not have health insurance or access to the health care they need. Our childcare infrastructure is woefully lacking – childcare is often hard to find and expensive.
Given the basis on which Dobbs v. Jackson was decided, we are also concerned about the potential for other rights to be abridged or eliminated in the future – such as access to contraception, same sex marriage, and interracial marriage. We are concerned about the potential for women seeking abortions to be criminalized. We are concerned that states banning abortion will seek information from technology companies about women’s online activity to learn about pregnancies for enforcement purposes.
We are concerned with the polarized debate in this country, and the threat of violence against providers, judges, activists, protesters and others. Violence has no place in a civil society, and we encourage everyone to engage in civil conversations with those holding opposing views. Let’s remember to be kind and courteous in all our interactions, even in those where we passionately disagree.
We are committed to the well-being of all women and girls. As decision-making around women’s reproductive health and other issues affecting women are debated in state legislatures around the country, it is critically important for each of us to engage in the democratic process. Share your views with your legislators. Vote in the upcoming midterm elections (November 8th). Your vote is your voice, and these elections will determine the direction set on women’s reproductive health as well as many other important issues affecting the lives of women and their families. For more voter information, please click here. To see the statement of YWCA USA, please click here.