On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down as unconstitutional Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In this decision, the court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and thus ended the federal right to abortion.
This decision does not mean an end to abortion. It does mean the end of safe, legal access to abortion for millions across the country.
The Supreme Court decision allows states to regulate access to abortion. As a result, in about half of all states, abortion access will be eliminated by total bans or curtailed by restrictions. In thirteen states that have passed “trigger laws,” near-total abortion bans will take effect immediately or within weeks of the Supreme Court decision. In seven of these states, there is no exception made in cases of rape or incest.
Abortion is health care. Decisions about abortion should be made by the pregnant person and their healthcare provider. This decision is a devastating one that strips millions of bodily autonomy and threatens clinicians who provide care. It will do demonstrable harm by limiting access to safe reproductive healthcare. And this harm will not be borne equally by all, with some communities (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with low incomes, those living in rural areas, LGBTQ+) disproportionately affected.