Access to Abortion Is a Public Health Issue

State politics should not determine access to abortion

Reproductive rights are an example of the critical importance of public health law in protecting our bodies and rights. Keeping abortion safe and legal protects the health of pregnant people and preserves their human right to make personal medical and life choices.

The recent news that the Supreme Court has drafted an opinion that would reverse the long-standing fundamental right to an abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade is deeply disappointing and disturbing. As a public health law organization, ChangeLab Solutions views access to abortion as a public health issue. Evidence shows that a person’s risk of poor health is elevated when there is no or limited access to abortion. For many people, this risk is already a reality because many states have blocked access to funding for abortion or otherwise enacted restrictions to this essential medical service. If Roe is overturned, individuals will be forced to navigate a patchwork of rules and regulations in order to make a decision that is deeply personal, complex, and nuanced. Millions of people will be outright unable to secure access to abortion services.

The immediate impact of the ruling would be to end 50 years of legal precedent that establishes federal constitutional protection for abortion rights. The new ruling would instead allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. By leaving access to abortion up to state politics, the court would essentially be stripping citizens of the right to an essential medical service. Most advocates predict that at least 26 states would act immediately to end or severely restrict access to abortions. This systematic creation of barriers will restrict access but not protect health.

To protect reproductive freedom,

  1. We urge the Supreme Court to NOT overturn Roe vs Wade and undo a fundamental public health right. We know that across political lines, the majority of Americans support the right to choose.
  2. We urge Congress to take action to protect reproductive rights at the national level.
  3. We urge businesses and corporations to step up and mitigate the harmful restrictions by supporting workers’ reproductive health needs.
  4. We support federal, state, and local efforts to build the economic power of people across the nation through paid leave policies, minimum wage increases, universal child care and preschool, and supportive programs and services like WIC, SNAP, and TANF.
  5. We urge you to protest! Explore these resources from our partners to learn more, and sign on to their letters or actions: