Joint Statement from Pro-Choice Maryland and Pro-Choice Maryland Action on the Supreme Court decision in Jackson Women’s Health vs. Dobbs
Today is a dark, somber day. The Supreme Court has ruled against Jackson Women’s Health in a decision that has gutted abortion protections and will mean the loss of abortion access for millions across the United States. Make no mistake: this is a power grab by extremist right wing politicians that will impact the health of pregnant individuals, gut reproductive healthcare resources, and widen healthcare disparities for marginalized groups.
Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protected the right to privacy with relation to abortion throughout the country, was never strong or equitable enough. However, we will not downplay the absolute atrocity that occurred today. A far-right, reactionary Supreme Court upheld an extremist political agenda aimed at controlling and criminalizing the pregnancy outcomes of people all across the country.
From the moment the Roe decision was handed down in 1973, anti-abortion zealots have meticulously plotted the demise of this right by any means available to them. They have passed laws that specifically target abortion clinics with onerous regulations that exist to put abortion providers out of business. Where they haven’t achieved their means through policy, they’ve achieved it through direct violence and intimidation. Between 1977 and 2020, anti-abortion activists engaged in more than approximately 13,522 reported acts of violence against abortion providers. This includes at least 52 bombings, 185 arson attacks, and 11 murders. One of those murders, that of beloved Dr. George Tiller, took place while Dr. Tiller was in church. The violence of their movement knows no bounds, yet they have managed to take control of the popular narrative about the morality of abortion with little mainstream political opposition.
When campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump stated that there should exist some form of legal punishment for individuals who have abortions. Then, he proceeded to nominate justices with extreme anti-abortion, transphobic, racist, xenophobic, ableist views who were hand-picked to bring us to today’s decision in Jackson Women’s Health vs. Dobbs.
Controlling, investigating, and criminalizing the pregnancy outcomes of the population is the game plan of the anti-abortion movement. Increasing white, cisgender, non-disabled birth rates is their goal. They took one step closer to that goal today by eviscerating legal abortion access, which will lead to forced pregnancies and forced births across America. A country that can legally force someone to gestate can also use those same laws to sterilize individuals who do not fit in with the population goals of the state. It is why anti-abortion extremists, who have recently taken up “Replacement Theory” as their newest white supremacist project, are celebrating today’s decision. and why they will celebrate if we allow this undemocratic body to take Griswold and Obergefell too.
Let there be no confusion about what losing Roe means: in the immediate, it means that abortion is banned in half of the nation and that states with stronger protections like Maryland will see higher wait times at our clinics, more harassment from anti-abortion extremists, and an unprecedented influx of patients. It means that many people will be forced further into their pregnancies before they can make it to a “safe haven state” to receive the abortion care they need. It means that many people will self-manage their abortions at potential legal risk. It means that abortion providers will be targeted even more than they already are. Today’s decision is an absolute tragedy that will go down in history as an aberration. We pledge resistance in all forms and will never stop advocating for a world where every individual is empowered and supported when determining if, when, and how they choose to become parents.
You can join our fight today by donating to our cause, signing up to be part of our access team, and speaking out about this violent injustice. We’ll keep you updated throughout the week about other opportunities to support abortion access. Until then, we stand with all folks who have had abortions, love someone who has had an abortion, & those who support reproductive justice and abortion access. Make no mistake: today was a dark day, but we won’t back down. Our fight has just begun.
“I am crestfallen that we officially live in a post-Roe United States. Anger doesn’t begin to cover it and I refuse to mince my words. I knew this decision was coming and yet I still find myself wading through waves of shock. The knot in my stomach that has existed from the moment the Supreme Court took on this case has now turned into a ball of fire flowing from the very core of my being. I’m livid. Our rights don’t come from the Supreme Court, and yet, unelected justices, from their ivory tower, completely unaware of the day-to-day realities of millions of people, have decided by the stroke of a pen to take us back half a century. If we allow Roe to be taken from us and not immediately replaced by a stronger law, this Court will continue to wreak havoc on marginalized communities without abandon. No right we’ve ever depended on can be seen as safe anymore. This is not fear mongering. This is raw honesty.
Our movement knows what we have to do — help people get abortions and continue building toward true reproductive justice.
Here are the marching orders for federal officials: Kill the filibuster. Expand the court. Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Quickly nominate progressives to the court. It is within your power. Get it done. You might even win an election if you do.”
-Lily Bolourian, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Maryland and Pro-Choice Maryland Action
“Despite our frustration with today’s Dobbs decision, we are unsurprised. History is repeating itself. Our country has a dark, storied history of reproductive control, and the extremist movement to ban abortion has seized one of the country’s most powerful and undemocratic institutions. It is not a coincidence that many of the extremists who aim to ban abortions also aim to ban gender-affirming care for transgender children and anti-racist curriculum in schools; reproductive control is a necessary vehicle of institutionalized white supremacy.
The legislators who have long used abortion rights as a talking point on their campaign trails should swiftly respond to the fall of Roe v. Wade with a more equitable replacement. Today’s SCOTUS decision should not be an acceleration of right-wing institutional control, but an inflection point toward enshrining the human right to bodily autonomy and reproductive justice locally and nationally.”
— Priya Hay-Chatterjee, Secretary, Pro-Choice Maryland Action
“The sheer disregard for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights in this country is appalling. This SCOTUS decision reinforces the need to call out sexism, racism, and inequities in our government and courts. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion related mortality rates were at least twice as high for minority and impoverished individuals. It’s no wonder that the white supremacy movement in the far right electorate are pushing for these anti-abortion laws. The concern has never been about protecting human life, but rather having control over those they deem as second class individuals. If protecting the lives of their future constituency was at the forefront, there would be policies that ensure family planning options are covered under insurance, reproductive health is adequately covered in schools, and the right to abortion is equitably protected under the law.
This Dobbs decision will have an immediate and detrimental impact on the welfare of pregnant individuals, resources of the healthcare system, and broaden the disparities for already marginalized groups.”
– Latasha N. Murphy, MD,
Vice Chair Pro-Choice Maryland
“Even though we all knew the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was coming, to see it in print now as the law of the land is jarring and shocking beyond belief. The right to privacy in health care decisions has become the latest public policy casualty to a right-wing political movement that is intent on marginalized communities losing their freedoms, one by one. Access to a safe abortion as part of a larger health care routine is an inalienable human right and overturning the constitutional protection afforded to all persons through Roe v. Wade is unconscionable. Abortions will still happen in the United States and the only thing the Dobbs decision will ensure is there will be unnecessary suffering and a loss of life. We mourn today for losing our freedoms but tomorrow we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and fight again for a future where every person is guaranteed access to quality and comprehensive reproductive care. Pro-Choice Maryland will never stop advocating for a system that promotes equality and human rights for all.”
– Patrice N. Snow