By Stacy M. Brown
Americans no longer have a constitutional right to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday, June 24, to overturn the landmark Roe V. Wade, taking away reproductive rights that have been in place since 1973.
The decision mirrored a leaked draft opinion circulated earlier this month, with all the conservative justices on the high court approved.
Immediately following the initial leak of draft, and continuing over the weeks since, crowds have gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington to protest.
“Stripping away a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion and to make our own health care decisions will have especially dire consequences for Black women and women of color across our country,” said Jessica Knight Henry, Deputy, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“With Roe overturned, the stakes of this election have never been higher – Black voters will stand with Senate Democrats against Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republicans’ agenda that would make abortion illegal and impose new, cruel, and punishing restrictions on women of color and their families,” Henry stated.
Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings said she’s furious and disappointed.
“I am ready to fight,” Demings declared in a statement. “We won’t go back. We must work relentlessly to preserve our right to choose and our right to privacy. We must protect Roe v. Wade in federal law.”
Demings asserted that America can’t go back to a time when women were treated as second-class citizens who don’t have control over their bodies.
“Freedom means the ability to live your life as you choose,” Demings insisted. “You have a fundamental, God-given right to your own life, your family, your religion, your circumstances, your privacy, your values, your health, your body. I’m going to fight for that freedom and so will millions of others. This isn’t over.”
Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for the 6-3 majority, in which each of the liberal judges offered their dissent.
Alito called Roe v. Wade “egregiously wrong from the start.”
“Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote.
Dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer disagreed.
“After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” Breyer wrote. “The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away.”
The court’s decision ends core protection for women to make their own health care decisions, Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock stated.
“It is a departure from our American ideals to recognize and protect basic rights,” Warnock stated.
“This misguided decision is devastating for women and families in Georgia and nationwide. Across the country, states have already passed dangerous and uncompromising restrictions that put politicians in charge of health care, instead of women and doctors.”
Warnock’s staff called the congressman a “stalwart champion” of protecting women’s right to choose, including co-sponsoring the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify a woman’s right to reproductive health care.
Karen Carter Richards, NNPA’s Board Chair along with Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the association’s president and CEO, issued the following joint statement: “The latest Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade is a bad decision that will impact the civil rights of communities of color and particularly women. This is why elections have consequences. The NNPA will increase our efforts to turn out the Black vote in 2022.
Marcela Howell, president, and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Health Imperative and a conglomerate of other women’s rights groups, joined in a statement rebuking the high court’s decision.
“Overturning the historic Roe decision after 50 years of legal precedent impacts women’s and birthing people human and civil rights,” the statement said.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling declares open season on women and birthing people’s rights and lives,” she continued. “While we call on Congress and the Biden administration to take immediate action to uphold the Constitution, we will not depend on governing bodies to protect our rights.”