In reaction to today’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organsation, Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“Today, the Supreme Court has delivered a devastating blow to the human rights of women across this country, declaring that rights to reproductive choice and health, including the right to access safe, legal abortion care, no longer exist in this country.
“While this devastating ruling impacts us all, it will fall hardest on marginalised people – poor women, women of colour, and gender-diverse people. That’s because the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion is fundamentally about reproductive justice rooted in gender, racial, and economic equality. Abortion rights in the United States will be doled out based on the privilege of who you are, where you live, how much money you have.
“Like so many rights and freedoms in this country, abortion access has long been a privilege reserved only for some. With the court removing all federal protections for abortion access, the gulf between those whose rights are real and those whose rights are out of reach, will grow exponentially. Without Roe and Casey, what remains is a disjointed and chaotic patchwork of state laws: some outlawing all abortions, others criminalising recipients and providers, and others protecting abortion access at the state level. What remains is a deepening system of inequality.
“Black and brown women and girls, trans individuals and gender-diverse people, people with disabilities, and people with irregular immigration status – all who already face systemic barriers to reproductive healthcare – will be further marginalised, their lives endangered, their futures at risk.
“The states that stand ready to outlaw abortion because of this ruling are those that already deny many supports and rights to residents. Mississippi, for example, has the highest poverty rate in the US and ranks in our index of states as the third-worst state for workers, and the fourth-worst place in the country to be a working woman. There is no mandate for equal pay, no accommodations for pregnant workers, no protections for workplace breastfeeding, and no form of paid sick leave or family leave.
“When abortion care comes with a criminal penalty, Black and brown pregnant people will be more likely than their white peers to be charged, convicted, and incarcerated, increasing their chances of poverty. Furthermore, a pregnant Black woman who is forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term will be three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than a white woman. The consequences of this decision aren’t academic or theoretical—they are very real.
“Today, I take solace in the belief that Americans fundamentally believe in reproductive and human rights. And this ruling calls on all of us to organise, raise our political voices and right this wrong.”