June 24, 2022
Abortion is freedom. It means sovereignty over our own bodies and moral agency to direct our own lives. Abortion is a public good. It protects the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Abortion is forever. As long as pregnancy has existed, so has abortion. Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization cannot change that or take it away.
Let’s be clear: Today’s decision is cruel and unjust, an affront to the rule of law, and a disgrace to the Court. The majority gave a green light for racist, anti-trans, anti-abortion politicians across the country to restrict, criminalize, or ban abortion altogether. Six of the highest jurists of our land issued violent words that deny people their humanity while they sit behind literal fences, completely insulated from feeling the impact of stripping away long-held rights.
We knew this regressive decision was coming, but as lawyers and advocates who seek to change structures of oppression into systems of justice, our hearts are sick and filled with rage. No, this ruling is not surprising, but it is still shocking.
The shock wave of this decision won’t just be felt now, but for generations. The reality of a law like Roe v. Wade being reversed could affect so many different ways we care for ourselves and our families.
It’s important to name that Roe has never been enough. For many of us — Black, Indigenous, and people of color, young people, LGBTQ+ folks, public program participants, immigrants, rural communities, and disabled people — a post-Roe world is our current and historical reality.
Despite 50 years of Roe, anti-abortion politicians and ideologues still stigmatize care, terrorize clinics and patients, criminalize communities, and throw as many barriers in the way of people seeking abortion as they can.
Every day, we work with clients whose rights have been denied or violated, who are surveilled or ignored, and who must rely on themselves and their communities for basic needs and protections. Every day, we mobilize and train law students, fellows, and lawyers to be the next generation working in service of reproductive justice, to build a better world than Roe provides.
And yet, to lose Roe is devastating.
It’s also important to name that this ruling is not the first time rights have been eroded or ignored. The roots of the U.S. legal system are embedded in racism, colonialism, and patriarchy, and the law has long been weaponized against our communities.
We know that a different future is possible where all of us can chart our own course free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. We have seen this future in the tenacity and moral clarity of those who have abortions, those who provide abortions, those who work in abortion funds, those who advocate and mobilize for reproductive justice, our law students, and our fellow reproductive justice legal minds. Today, you all are in our hearts, and we are honored to be beside you in whatever is to come next.
With you, we will continue to demand an end to state violence and fight the criminalization of our bodies and our families in all its forms. With you, we will continue to use the law to shift power and create that future where everyone has the agency and dignity to decide if, when, and how to create and sustain their families.
Our legal services and organizing will be here—no matter what the Supreme Court says. You can do something to help right now–please help us spread the word about these resources:
- If you have questions about your legal rights and self-managed abortion, the Repro Legal Helpline is a free, confidential source for legal advice and information. Visit ReproLegalHelpline.org or call 844-868-2812.
- If you are under 18 and need information about your rights to an abortion, you can message or call our Repro Legal Helpline at 844-868-2812. You can also read more about your rights on our Judicial Bypass Wiki.
- If you have been arrested, contacted by the police, or fear you may be arrested for a self-managed abortion, our Repro Legal Helpline can provide immediate legal advice and support, and our Repro Legal Defense Fund can help with bail and legal fees. You can call our Repro Legal Helpline at 844-868-2812, and for help with bail and other fees, visit ReproLegalDefenseFund.org.
- If you are a lawyer, put your legal skills to work and join the RJ Lawyers Network. We’re building a network of lawyers across the country ready to be of service for Reproductive Justice in their state.
- If you’re a current law student or interested in law school, we have resources for student activism and can connect you with an active chapter at your school.