The U.S. Supreme Court Must Not Roll Back Reproductive Freedom

December 1, 2021, Raleigh, NC - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most consequential abortion rights case to come before the Court since 1973’s Roe v Wade

In complete disregard of the nearly 50-year ruling in Roe that ensures people have the right to access abortion in every state, our country’s highest court heard a case that seeks to directly violate the standard set in Roe. Anti-abortion politicians in Mississippi are asking the Court to uphold their 15-week abortion ban and overturn Roe, making clear that anti-abortion politics are at the heart of this case. If a blatantly unconstitutional law like this were allowed to stand, it would be a huge step backwards for legal precedent and rule of law, and a tremendous loss for reproductive freedom. 

“In order to achieve true reproductive freedom in this country, individuals must be able to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions,” said Rep. Deb Butler (D-NC 18). “Supporting women and pregnant people as they care for themselves and their families strengthens us all. We must support the personal decisions people make for their lives, including ensuring access to abortion for all who need it.”

“We expect the Court to honor well-established precedent that protects the rights of all women to make these deeply personal reproductive decisions without government interference”, said Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-NC 41).

In North Carolina, as in many parts of the country, abortion access and reproductive rights and healthcare have been under intense attack for the past decade and escalated as the previous White House Administration seated three anti-abortion justices on to the Supreme Court. Unable to acheive their unpopular anti-abortion goals legislatively, anti-abortion politicians have attempted to stack the courts with hyper-partisan ideologues in an effort to roll back these rights. 

"Both in the United States and in North Carolina, an overwhelming majority of voters believe that abortion should be legal. Despite that, anti-abortion lawmakers across the country are trying to use the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the will of the people and outlaw abortion,” said Rep. Julie von Haefen (D-NC 36).  “With an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court and with anti-abortion state lawmakers making every effort to maintain power through gerrymandering, we cannot rely on Roe v Wade to protect our right to choose. We have to fight back in 2022 and put all of our energy into electing pro-choice candidates who will stand up for reproductive rights in our state legislatures."

“We don’t know what the Supreme Court will ultimately decide in this case, but having allowed Texas’ 6-week abortion ban to stay in effect for 90 days indicates we must prepare for a complete upending of abortion law in 2022”, said Tara Romano, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. “No matter what the Court decides, we know that people will continue to seek out abortion care when they need it, and we will continue fighting to ensure they can get that care, no matter where they live.”

Whatever the decision in this case, expected in spring 2022, we expect North Carolina politicians to focus on the priorities and policies North Carolinians need, such as expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage, combating racial injustice, and expanding access to paid leave, rather than play political games with access to reproductive healthcare. Abortion access is an essential part of comprehensive reproductive healthcare, and the function of our courts is to expand and protect our rights, not further restrict them. 

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