The Supreme Court issued a misogynistic, regressive ruling today overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago. Today’s ruling opens the floodgates for anti-abortion politicians to ban abortion in states across the country, denying Americans the right to make fundamental health care decisions about their own bodies. The ruling in this case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will set off a chain reaction with states banning abortion and criminalizing essential care throughout entire regions of the country.
In Alaska, access to abortion will remain protected because of state constitutional privacy protections that have been reinforced by rulings from the Alaska Supreme Court. However, these protections are in jeopardy if voters choose to hold a Constitutional Convention – which is on the ballot in the November election.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision denies individuals the right to make fundamental decisions about our own bodies and gives that power to the government. The decision is an ominous statement from the Supreme Court that none of our rights or liberties are secure,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Mara Kimmel. “Politicians seeking to roll back rights will not stop here. Their agenda is clear. The same anti-abortion extremists seeking to ensure that the government controls our fundamental rights to make our own health care and pregnancy decisions have already begun moving against the right to access birth control, gender affirming care, and the right to marry the people we love.”
The Supreme Court’s decision is an attack on women’s rights and reproductive freedom, and the effects will be immediate and far-reaching. Half the states in the country are expected to ultimately ban abortion, denying 36 million Americans in those states the fundamental right to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy against their will has life-altering consequences, including serious health risks from continued pregnancy and childbirth, trapping parents and children in poverty, derailing education, career and family plans, and increasing the dangers of domestic violence by making it more difficult to leave an abusive partner. This decision has many repercussions, including expansion of government surveillance as states seek to enforce anti-abortion laws, meaning that pregnancies will be subject to suspicion, investigation, and the arrest, trial and incarceration of and patients, doctors and those who “aid and abet” the end of a pregnancy.
Anti-abortion politicians have made it clear that they will not stop with Roe’s reversal and banning abortion state by state; extremists have made it clear that they will work to ban abortion nationwide. In the face of this attack on the individual liberty and autonomy, the ACLU of Alaska is working with partners to send a clear message and to implement strategies to protect and expand access to abortion, and to ensure that all Alaskans can make their own decisions about their bodies and futures.