This morning, the Supreme Court released its opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which strikes down Roe in its entirety and ends the federal right to abortion—harming millions of women and pregnant people in need of this vital health care.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Court held: “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
In response, The Century Foundation Director of Health Care Reform Dr. Jamila Taylor, President Mark Zuckerman, and other policy experts issued the following statements:
Dr. Jamila K. Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation
“Today is a dark day for women and birthing people across the country, as the Supreme Court’s decision will make it extremely difficult for tens of millions of people to access abortion care that should be accessible to all. This decision is not only unnecessarily cruel, forcing individuals who are not ready to become a parent to continue a pregnancy, but is also based in racism and misogyny.
“We already know that bans on abortion care, like the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, will disproportionally impact Black and Brown women and pregnant people, as well as those with low incomes, who do not have access to out-of-state travel to obtain care. Even with Roe v. Wade in place, abortion has long been inaccessible for too many, and this decision will make the crisis exponentially worse. It is immoral to force an individual to continue a pregnancy they would otherwise choose to terminate—especially given the maternal health crisis that the country already faces, which disproportionately affects Black and Indigenous women. Choices that impact nearly every aspect of a person’s life, including their health and economic future, should be the concern of women and pregnant people alone, not that of six conservative justices.
“The actions of this Supreme Court and its extreme justices will not only have dire consequences, endangering women and pregnant people across the country, but are also in open defiance of strong public support for abortion rights for all. In the aftermath of this devastating decision, swift action is needed: Congress must, once and for all, act to safeguard the rights and freedom of women and pregnant people and President Biden should consider executive action to expand abortion care.”
Mark Zuckerman, President of The Century Foundation
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court marks one of the most egregious attacks on abortion access and reproductive freedom in American history. Six justices sent a message to pregnant people across the country that choices about their own health care and economic futures are no longer theirs to make, but rather are left to the whims of state legislatures and unelected judges. Reversing nearly 50 years of Supreme Court legal precedent solely to advance a political agenda held by a minority of Americans does irreversible harm to our democracy and seriously undermines the integrity of the judicial branch.
“This decision marks a crisis for reproductive health care. As a result, abortion will soon become illegal in roughly half of U.S. states, forcing women and pregnant people to go without the critical health care they desperately need in a country that already has astoundingly poor maternal health outcomes. Congress must act immediately to protect abortion rights for all across the country, even if it means creating an emergency exception to the U.S. Senate filibuster rule.”
Anna Bernstein, TCF Health Care Policy Fellow
“The Supreme Court’s decision, though not a surprise, is a devastating ruling that dismisses the humanity of women and people who can become pregnant. This crisis will worsen over the coming weeks, months, and years as states move to ban abortion care—in addition to the several states whose bans will go into effect immediately. No person should be forced to travel outside of their community for health care—and not all will be able to overcome the financial and logistical barriers to doing so. As with all restrictions on abortion care, people struggling to make ends meet, people of color, undocumented individuals, young people, and other oppressed groups will be hit the hardest.
“Further, when pregnancy outcomes are criminalized, all pregnant individuals are put at risk—whether they experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, or have chosen to self-manage their own abortion care. This unconscionable decision will impact folks across the country as states with access to abortion struggle to meet increased demand for care. Even though Roe was never sufficient to ensure equitable access to abortion care, we must now reckon with a reality where there is no federal right to abortion. It has never been more dire to create a statutory right to abortion, and to ensure that legality equates to actual access for individuals seeking abortion care.”
Kimberly Knackstedt, Vilissa Thompson, Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellows at TCF and Co-Directors of TCF’s Disability Economic Justice Collaborative
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is unconscionable and will have devastating consequences for women and people who can give birth across the country, particularly those already most marginalized in our communities. People of color, people who are low income, and people with disabilities already face enormous barriers to accessing the reproductive health care they need, including abortion care, and today’s decision will make those barriers insurmountable for many, with life-changing consequences.
“Reproductive rights, at their core, are disability rights. Both reproductive justice and disability justice center on bodily autonomy and individual choice—the legal right to abortion care must be protected for all people. Access to health care for all, including access to abortion care, is essential to achieving economic justice for all people with disabilities. In the wake of this decision, Congress must act swiftly to protect the reproductive rights of all individuals, including those of disabled Americans.”
Julie Kashen, TCF Director of Women’s Economic Justice and Senior Fellow
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a dangerous and intentional attack not only on reproductive rights, but also on the freedom and autonomy of women and people who can become pregnant. The consequences of this decision—stripping millions of the rights to make their own health care decisions—are about controlling women’s choices and preventing them from accessing social, economic, cultural, and political power, in the same way that so many of our legal and policy choices work to reinforce racial and gender inequities.
“Those facing intersecting oppressions, particularly women of color and people with low incomes, will bear the brunt of this crisis, which overlaps with other policy problems such as the lack of federal investment in child care, paid family and medical leave, and pregnancy accommodations. This is one of the greatest threats to women’s reproductive rights in American history, and Congress must act to protect women’s access to the essential health care they need, including abortion care.”