As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision, many of us are still grappling with the devastating impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s legally unsound and undemocratic Dobbs decision from June 2022 that overturned Roe. While the federal protections put forward in Roe—that everyone has the right to access abortion no matter where they live—were never enough to guarantee equitable access, this 1973 ruling affirmed the principle that all people had the right and freedom to make their own personal health and family planning decisions and direct their own futures. In the nearly seven months since Dobbs, we’ve seen anti-abortion lawmakers across the country rush to pass dangerous, extreme, and unjust laws designed to punish patients, providers, and anyone who supports them.
Abortion is healthcare, and the impacts of these bans and restrictions are devastating and widespread. In states that have severely restricted or banned abortion, we’ve witnessed numerous incidents of people being denied necessary healthcare, resulting in unnecessary injury and frightening situations. Whether being forced to travel hundreds of miles to terminate a pregnancy, including non-viable pregnancies, being denied miscarriage care until people are in danger and their lives at risk, or being denied access to critical medications because of vague anti-abortion laws, patients and providers are experiencing the harsh reality of abortion bans on a daily basis. Meanwhile, anti-abortion lawmakers creating these policies still falsely claim their unpopular ideologies have no real world negative consequences for patients.
We are in a human rights and public health crisis. Even in North Carolina, a state that has become a haven for people seeking care, the impact of an influx of patients is overworking providers and forcing in-state and out-of-state patients to wait longer for this necessary healthcare. But rather than ensuring compassionate care for North Carolinians, anti-abortion lawmakers in the North General Assembly are promising even more restrictions this coming legislative session.
As always, the impacts of the chaos created by abortion bans and attacks on reproductive health care is felt most acutely by people with the least access to resources and support, including young people, Black people, Indigenous people, People of Color, people of lower income, rural communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and immigrants.
As abortion advocates, we will never stop fighting for accessible abortion care for all! When Roe was overturned by Dobbs, our supporters made their voices heard in rallies and marches from the North Carolina mountains to the coast. In towns large and small, reproductive freedom advocates continue to speak out on college campuses, in the halls of local and state governments, in the media, and with their families and friends about the importance of reproductive freedom, abortion access, and the connections to our democracy and our collective health and safety. Support for abortion access has always been a popular and majority opinion, and this visible surge of activism and support, from all corners of society, sustains our resolve for the coming fight.
While Roe was an imperfect solution to widespread reproductive oppression and gender inequality, we recognize and honor that this ruling was the result of years of tireless effort and activism to advance reproductive freedom. It was the result of generational struggles for gender and racial equity, bodily autonomy, economic security, and the expansion of democracy and voting rights. These struggles are ongoing, and while the loss of Roe was an attempt to decimate many of those rights, we are ready to continue fighting for a better and more just, equitable, and compassionate future for our descendents.
As we in North Carolina and across the country adjust to a post-Roe landscape, we’re fighting for and envision a world where all people can access the reproductive healthcare they need—including contraception, abortion, maternity care, and post-natal care—when they need it, from the providers they choose, and in the communities where they live!