The following remarks were made by our Executive Director at a press conference about the introduction of this legislation.
As advocates, our goal is to center the people seeking out reproductive healthcare services by supporting policies and societal supports and attitudes that are grounded in patient needs and lived experiences, medical science and evidence, compassion, and respect for patient autonomy. The national 15-week ban that was introduced by anti-abortion lawmakers earlier this week is the opposite of that, as it is based on partisan politics, an unpopular ideology, a one-size-fits-all attitude to health care and personal experiences, and deliberate and inflammatory misinformation.
Let’s be clear that nothing has changed regarding the medical science of abortion care throughout pregnancy, nor the need for that care. What has changed, and has created chaos in patient care around the country, is the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, a court that overturned nearly 50 years of precedent to hand down a legally unsound and hyper-partisan ruling in June that for the first time stripped away a right that had previously been granted by the court. Anti-abortion state legislators have run with this ruling, introducing-and passing-more and more extreme bans, including total bans on abortion and attempts to ban travel to access care.
This is all the most cynical of political games. We only have to look back to June 24, when the Dobbs decision was released and Roe was overturned. At that time, anti-abortion lawmakers defended the Court's decision, saying abortion law was “rightly headed back to the states”. Now however, we see a national abortion ban introduced that would override the will of millions of Americans in states where abortion is more accessible, including in North Carolina. We also are seeing a political reworking of the previously introduced national 20-week ban, now being rewritten to be a 15-week ban. This constant moving of the goalposts for political gain is an insult to voters, and a danger to women, girls, and people who can get pregnant.
The end goal for anti-abortion politicians and their supporters is to ban all abortion, no exceptions, nationwide. The supporters of this 15-week ban know that, and are demonstrating-again-their disregard for people’s lives and health as they treat abortion like a political football, introducing inflammatory bills right before an election with promises to “do more” if the election goes their way.
Medically unnecessary bans and restrictions on abortion are potentially harmful to all who may seek out abortion care, but are especially harmful to those who often struggle within our racist and sexist systems to access any kind of healthcare, and especially reproductive healthcare. People of low income, people without health insurance, young people, People of Color and immigrant communities, people with disabilities, and rural communities need policies that increase access to healthcare and support, not restrict it. Bans and arbitrary restrictions on abortion create disparate and harmful impacts that reverberate throughout the healthcare system, as we’ve heard in other states where people seeking not just abortion but also miscarriage and chronic disease healthcare are already being denied lifesaving care. Again we ask that elected officials put aside politics and look at the real consequences of their ideological and unpopular bills, and put the needs of their constituents first.
The stakes of the coming election couldn’t be more clear. We need elected officials, in Congress and in our statehouses, to create policies and laws that reflect that the majority of people support legal abortion. We also need policies that reflect our shared values of respect for personal autonomy, fair treatment under the law and equal access to healthcare, and the recognition that we all experience unique circumstances in our lives and should be able to make personal decisions free from political interference. We deserve better than to be treated like pawns in political power plays, and we urge voters who support abortion access, and all reproductive rights and healthcare, as well as democracy, to make their voices heard at the polls in November.