PRESS RELEASE – (January 20, 2022) This week marks 49 years since the Supreme Court guaranteed a legal right to abortion through Roe v. Wade. But for nearly half a century the constitutional guarantee to reproductive freedom under Roe has been diminishing.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 2021 was the worst year on record for attacks on abortion care with more than 100 state restrictions enacted. And the Supreme Court has turned its back on Roe precedent by allowed Texas’ SB 8 to remain in effect, a law that bans abortion after six weeks and empowers citizens to report anyone they suspect of obtaining or helping someone access abortion services.
As we wait on the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade – state legislators are advancing proactive state and local level efforts to protect abortion rights and access for all.
“If the Supreme Court makes Roe v. Wade meaningless it will devastate the already-fragile landscape of abortion access,” said Neha Patel, co-executive director of State Innovation Exchange (SiX). “Although an overwhelming majority of the public agrees we must protect Roe, decades of state attacks on abortion have denied too many people the ability to get the care they need when they need it. But we–women, people of color, immigrants–know what it’s like to fight impossible odds and we will be bold in our struggle for justice.”
“For too long, abortion rights in this country have been in name only for an overwhelming majority. This is especially true for Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities in the South and Midwest as well as LGBTQ communities. We cannot rely on the Supreme Court to guarantee access, affordability or availability of abortion care,” said Jennifer Driver, SiX’s Senior Director of Reproductive Rights. “State legislators are the first line of defense against policies that deliberately roll back progress on abortion rights and reproductive freedom. In the midst of the greatest assault on abortion rights in half a century, state legislators in all 50 states are banding together, fighting anti-abortion attacks in order to expand access and protect abortion in their states.”
Last September, State Innovation Exchange’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council — a network of state legislators working to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice — filed an amicus brief in support of legal abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case likely to decide the future of reproductive freedom in the United States. The brief, signed by 896 state legislators from 45 states, represents the strongest showing ever recorded of state legislators supporting legal abortion nationwide.