By Amy Berberyan
WASHINGTON, DC – Following the decision to overturn abortion rights this week by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a joint statement from the League of Women Voters (LWV) of the U.S. by President Dr. Deborah Turner and CEO Virginia Kase Solomon provided a scathing critique of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization occurred after the state of Mississippi made abortions illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy in March of 2018. Similarly, Mississippi had spent the past two decades restricting abortion rights to the point where they closed “all but one of the abortion clinics in the state,” according to LWV.
As a result of this, the League filed a complaint and the state appealed to the Supreme Court to review the case. What followed was Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the Supreme Court voted this week 6-3 to overturn precedents established in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
In Roe v. Wade, a fundamental “right to privacy” established that a woman had the liberty to abort her fetus. Similarly, Planned Parenthood v. Casey decided that spousal awareness prior to an abortion created an “undue burden” on the married woman, and so was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“Today’s ruling strips women and those who may become pregnant of their bodily autonomy and will have devastating — and immediate — consequences across the country. While the Court’s opinion was expected, its harm is extreme and real,” said the LWV.
“When women and those who can become pregnant can no longer make reproductive decisions for their own bodies, they are no longer equal individuals in our democracy,” continued the LWV. “This harm will exacerbate societal inequalities and fall disproportionately on people of color and low-income communities already facing egregious obstacles to health care.”
LWV also argued that “the decision foreshadows the erosion of other well-established Constitutional rights including marriage equality, access to contraception, and the right to engage in private, consensual intimate conduct.”
Clarence Thomas, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, was quoted saying “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”
Griswold relates to contraception, Lawrence to the protection of consensual same-sex intercourse, and Obergefell to same-sex marriage.
The LWV said, “The dissenting Justices get it exactly right: today’s majority opinion is an assault on the constitutional guarantee to equal protection of the laws and the right to due process. With this decision, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other historically marginalized communities have no guarantees that their civil rights will be protected.
“The League of Women Voters stands in our power with our reproductive partners and all persons who fear the dangerous consequences of this decision. We will use our anger to fight in the legislatures, in the courts, and in the streets. We call on our elected leaders at the state and federal levels to act swiftly to restore bodily autonomy to all people.”
LWV concluded that “women hold the power to create a more perfect democracy. We will not stand by as constitutional rights are stripped away, one by one. Women’s rights are human rights, and we will continue to fight until the right to abortion is restored. Our lives depend on it.”