WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned decades of precedent protecting a women’s right to an abortion. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization strips away the constitutional protection of a fundamental human right from all women in the United States. The immediate result will be the imposition of outright abortion bans in 14 states, with many other states likely to follow soon afterwards.
“The decision is oblivious to its certain real-world impact, failing to grapple with the human cost of abortion bans and severe restrictions on access to abortion. Abortion bans would criminalize the seeking and provision of health care, threatening to put people in jail for seeking or providing abortions. Abortion bans will force women and pregnant people to seek abortions in unsafe conditions. Some will die or be injured as a result. Abortion bans will force others to proceed with unwanted pregnancies with dramatic, life-altering impacts.
“The direct human harms and needless personal tragedies that follow directly from abortion bans will concentrate very heavily among low-income people and people of color. Poor or lower-income women constitute 75% of the abortion patient population, according to the Guttmacher Institute. More than half are women of color. Compounding this already severe imbalance, lower-income women in abortion-banning states will have the least ability to circumvent restrictions by traveling out of state.
“Human rights are not an abstraction. Protecting human rights protects human dignity. Protecting the right to an abortion helps women to be safe and healthy and gives them the ability to define their own path.
“By contrast, this Supreme Court decision, will endanger many women and strip them of their autonomy. Among its many shocking arguments, the majority dismisses the notion that abortion bans are sex-based classifications. Eventually, the decision will be corrected – by Congress or a future Supreme Court. In the meantime, it will inflict enormous, needless damage. It is an affront to women, the U.S. Constitution, and human rights.
“Although the majority pleads otherwise, the decision also dangerously threatens reversals of other basic rights, including the right to marry whomever one wants and the right to contraception.
“It’s now time to protect abortion rights in federal law. Winning such a law will almost certainly require setting aside the filibuster, but there’s no excuse for arcane and anti-democratic Senate rules to stand in the way of protecting fundamental human rights. What may have felt theoretical even a few weeks ago is now a devastating reality. Congress must act.”