January 20, 2023 – Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued the following statement in recognition of what would have been the 50th anniversary ofRoev. Wade, the landmark ruling recognizing the constitutional right to abortion. In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturnedRoe, clearing the way for states to ban abortion.
Today is a sober moment. The reversal of Roe v. Wade was the biggest setback for women’s rights in U.S. history. For the first time in 50 years, the right to make decisions about one’s health, life and future in connection with pregnancy is being denied. In states with criminal abortion bans, women suffering miscarriages are being turned away from hospitals in life-threatening circumstances. Women struggling to make ends meet, who lack the resources to travel to another state to get abortion care, must either carry their pregnancies to term or seek other means to end their pregnancies.
As we work to undo this travesty, there are promising legal developments. Earlier this month, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that its state constitution protects the right to abortion. Voters in three states—Michigan, California, and Vermont—amended their constitutions to add an explicit right to reproductive liberty or reproductive autonomy. And voters in two other states—Kansas and Kentucky—rejected attempts to strip their constitutions of the right to abortion.
Ultimately, to end the state-by-state patchwork of abortion access, we need Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which is a federal law that would establish a right to abortion nationwide.