Today’s critical U.S. Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v. Russo upholds the precedent set four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, reaffirming that anti-abortion politicians cannot impose arbitrary and medically unnecessary burdens in the way of people seeking abortions. The Court’s ruling earlier today is especially good news for the people of Louisiana, who will still have access to abortion care in their state.
It’s also important to note that independent abortion clinics, like the one at the center of today’s case, provide the majority of abortion care in the country and will continue to do everything they can to stay open and provide compassionate, patient-centered care in their communities. Anti-abortion restrictions, like the one at the heart of Louisiana Act 620, often fall hardest on these independent community-based clinics, and, by extension, negatively impact their patients. Today’s decision allows these clinics to continue providing much-needed abortion care and other reproductive healthcare services.
While this ruling upholds the right to access abortion, in practice abortion is still inaccessible for far too many people–especially Black and Brown people, LGBTQ+ individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of lower income. Everyone, no matter where they live, their age, their insurance status, or their income level, should have the freedom and healthcare to make their own decisions about their health, their lives, their families, and their futures. The Court’s decision in June Medical Service v. Russo means the people of Louisiana, and people across the country where other anti-abortion lawmakers are trying to deny access to abortion, will still be able to make those decisions for themselves.
While we are relieved about today’s ruling, it was a narrow victory, with four justices—two of whom were appointed by President Trump—ready to overturn judicial precedent and make abortion completely inaccessible for an entire state’s population. Chief Justice Roberts stated in his concurrence on today’s opinion that while he was compelled to follow the precedent of the Whole Woman’s Health, he still believes it was a wrong decision. This makes it clear that we still have an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court willing to give the green light to politically-motivated, medically unnecessary anti-abortion laws, and we can’t assume decisions on future cases will have positive outcomes for reproductive rights.
The majority of North Carolinians, like the majority of Americans, support access to abortion. Today’s ruling was necessary and it should be celebrated, but we know the struggle for full reproductive freedom for all is not over. We urge people to use their voices and votes to help protect and expand access by speaking out in support of abortion access, donating to local abortion funds, supporting and protecting local clinics, and calling on their elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels to stop these political attacks on abortion care.
Finally, we urge pro-choice state and federal lawmakers to expand access to abortion for everyone who needs it and to stop playing political games with our basic human right to access comprehensive reproductive health care. We promise to never stop fighting until we achieve reproductive freedom for all!