NHeLP Statement: Most consequential abortion rights case in nearly 50 years goes before the Supreme Court

NHeLP Statement: Most consequential abortion rights case in nearly 50 years goes before the Supreme Court

Washington, DC – On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most consequential abortion rights case in nearly 50 years. The future of abortion rights and access hangs in the balance. As an organization that defends health care rights for low-income and underserved individuals and communities, the National Health Law Program reiterates that abortion is health care. It is common, safe, and effective and must be a component of comprehensive reproductive health care coverage. Should the Court rule in favor of Mississippi, individuals in half of U.S. states might lose access to this essential service. 

We must come together to fight for a future where abortion isn’t just legal – but also accessible, affordable, and supported in our communities.

The National Health Law Program has worked to defend and advance access to abortion services for underserved communities since 1973, when we submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade. And we haven’t stopped since. We are proud to have joined an amicus brief filed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in this case. 

“The impact of abortion restrictions and bans fall hardest on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and those having difficulty making ends meet. This is especially true for those who are eligible for Medicaid,” said Fabiola Carrión, NHeLP’s Interim Director of Reproductive and Sexual Health. “The fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures is essential to the pursuit of health equity and racial, reproductive, and economic justice.”

“The stakes could not be higher,” added senior attorney Catherine McKee. “Research has shown that compared to people who are able to access an abortion, people who are denied an abortion are more likely to experience a range of negative health outcomes after the pregnancy, stay connected to an abusive partner, and live below the poverty level. The Court must uphold the constitutional right to decide if and when to have a child.” 

“People with means will find ways to access abortions when they or their loved ones need them. This case is about more than abortion rights. It is about fairness and whether we will create additional obstacles between low-income people and the health care they need. We should be reducing those barriers, not creating them,” concluded NHeLP’s Executive Director, Elizabeth G. Taylor. “Our legal system has a long history of restricting the bodily autonomy of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Overturning Roe will add to that grim reality and exacerbate existing inequalities.”

Abortion is health care. Period. The National Health Law Program works at every level to protect access to the full range of essential reproductive health services, including abortion, in Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces, and private insurance. Learn more at healthlaw.org/abortion-is-health-care

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