Dobbs Decision Reduces Freedom, Will Widen Inequities
Statement of Sharon Parrott, President
By overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court has taken away the guaranteed right of people to make the most basic decisions about their bodies, their pregnancies, their families, and their futures.
As a result of this ruling, many people will lose access to abortion or face new difficulties in obtaining this vital service as states use the Court’s new permission slip to abrogate the freedom to control one’s own body. The Court’s actions today signal that other fundamental rights could be at risk as well.
No one should have to cross state lines to exercise their most basic rights and plan their futures. And the burden will fall hardest on the people with the fewest resources, disproportionately people of color, immigrants, and others who have historically been marginalized. They will face the highest hurdles to overcoming state-level restrictions due to this nation’s long history of racism and discrimination. For many with low incomes, little savings, inflexible jobs, child care responsibilities, or no private transportation, those restrictions will mean less personal autonomy and enormous financial hardship — burdens that wealthier people will not face to the same degree.
By creating new legal and financial barriers to health care based on where people live and their resources to seek care elsewhere, the Court’s decision will further worsen health disparities. The U.S. already has unacceptably high levels of poverty and inequality and deep inequities across racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Among developed countries, the U.S. has the highest rate of deadly pregnancy-related complications during or within 12 months of the end of pregnancy. Black women die at significantly higher rates than other groups and are twice as likely to experience serious health conditions resulting from labor or delivery. And births involving unintended pregnancies are more likely to result in adverse health outcomes for women, including death; this risk is higher for women of color than for white women.
Instead of worsening disparities, we should pursue health equity so that all people can access care and lead healthy lives regardless of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, the state in which they live, their income, their immigration status, their disability status, or the language they speak. Elected officials at both the state and national level should take action to protect people’s freedom to access vital health care, including abortion care, and make personal decisions to guide their own lives.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization and policy institute that conducts research and analysis on a range of government policies and programs. It is supported primarily by foundation grants.