Today’s Supreme Court decision eliminating a woman’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortions lays bare the court’s conservative perspective and eliminates 50 years of freedom for American women and non-binary people to choose what happens to their own bodies. About half of states will now functionally ban abortion, many even in cases of medical necessity.

“The brutal, dismissive language this decision uses to describe women, our bodies, and our inalienable right to decide what happens with our corporeal sovereignty is the stuff of nightmares,” said Susan Jane Brown, Wildlands and Wildlife Program director at the Western Environmental Law Center. “The fallout from this decision will be predominantly borne by disadvantaged Black and Brown women. That inequity makes me even more angry.”

Gallup polling shows Americans’ support for legal abortion under all or certain circumstances at 80% in May 2021. That the vast majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose underscores the disparity between the court’s ruling and the sentiment of the vast majority of the country.

The Supreme Court’s decision today undermines substantive due process liberties running the gamut of bedrock inalienable rights that have become part of everyday life in the U.S. Using this ruling as precedent, the judicial system could in the future overturn legal interracial marriage, the right to contraception (especially emergency contraception), and same-sex marriage.

“The Supreme Court has forsaken its own legitimacy in the eyes of the American people, reinforcing the increasingly self-evident reality that it is driven by right-wing ideology rather than a fair and clear-eyed understanding of the U.S. Constitution,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. “And make no mistake: that ideology will not stop at taking away a freedom held by Americans for half a century, but is also actively threatening to eliminate essential climate, public health, and environmental protections.”

The legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade was about more than just a woman’s right to choose whether to bring life into this world: it also established a constitutional right to privacy that is the foundation for other important rights such as the right to marry who one loves, regardless of race, creed, or sexual identity. The injustice worked on all Americans as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision today will have both immediate and long-term implications. As attorney advocates, the Western Environmental Law Center will continue to use the power of the law to address inequity wherever we find it.

Contacts:

Susan Jane Brown, 503-680-5513,

Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, 575-770-1295,

Resources:

AidAccess helps people obtain abortion pills.

Resources assembled by the National Lawyers Guild:

Resources for folks looking to offer support:

  • National Network of Abortion Funds: a resource to locate local abortion funds to donate to or receive help from and find answers to questions about insurance coverage, clinics, and abortion pills
  • Keep Our Clinics: a campaign to support community-based healthcare clinics that provide abortions; many of these clinics in states with conservative legislatures face major loss of funding and closures after the official opinion is issued, despite often providing other necessary medical services to the community
  • Indigenous Women Rising: an organization defending Native & Indigenous People’s inherent right to equitable and culturally safe health options through accessible health education, resources, and advocacy
  • SisterSong: an organization working to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights
  • Taller Salud: a community-based feminist organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, to reducing violence within the community and to encourage economic growth through education and activism

*Resources for folks seeking support:

  • If/When/How’s Repro Legal Helpline: a hotline and website dedicated to helping people navigate the legal complexities of abortion
    • Note: this helpline also has a web form for D/deaf helpline users and anybody else who cannot or would prefer not to receive a phone call
  • National Network of Abortion Funds: a resource to locate local abortion funds to donate to or receive help from and find answers to questions about insurance coverage, clinics, and abortion pills
  • INeedAnA.com: a web-based resource for locating an abortion provider
  • M+A Hotline: a call- or text-based hotline for support self-managing abortion or miscarriages
  • Emergency contraceptive weight limit comparisons and alternatives: a Healthline article outlining different weight limits for different emergency contraceptives, with alternative recommendations
    • Note: this article cites medical research on BMI, which is a eugenicist metric we do not endorse; we have included this because not all emergency contraception resources are transparent about weight-based exclusion

*Overall note on resource helplines: though all listed resources promise confidentiality, they do not explicitly state a policy against wellness checks. If you are in need of mental health support rather than legal or resource guidance, Trans Lifeline is currently the only national helpline with a policy against wellness checks. Though we are including these resources in this list, we cannot formally vouch for their services.

Powerful statement from National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman: 8 reasons to stand up today against abortion bans in the U.S.:

  1. When the penalty for rape is less than the penalty for abortion after the rape, you know this isn’t about caring for women and girls. It’s about controlling them.
  2. Through forcing them into motherhood before they’re ready, these bans steadily sustain the patriarchy, but also chain families in poverty and maintain economic inequality.
  3. Pregnancy is a private and personal decision and should not require the permission of any politician.
  4. For all time, regardless of whether it’s a crime, women have and will always seek their own reproductive destinies. All these penalties do is subdue women’s freedom to get healthy, safe services when they most need them.
  5. Fight to keep Roe v. Wade alive. By the term ‘overturn Roe v. Wade,‘ the main concern is that the Supreme Court will let states thwart a woman’s path to abortion with undue burdens.
  6. One thing is true and certain: These predictions aren’t a distortion, hypothetical, or theoretical. Women already face their disproportion of undue burdens when seeking abortions. If the sexes and all people are to be equal, abortion has to be actually accessible and not just technically legal.
  7. Despite what you might hear, this right here isn’t only about women and girls. This fight is about fundamental civil rights. Women are a big part of it, but at the heart of it are freedom over how fast our families grow goes farther and larger than any one of us. It’s about every single one of us.
  8. This change can’t wait. We’ve got the energy, the moment, the movement, and the thundering numbers.
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