WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) condemns today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that effectively overturns Roe v. Wade.
This decision is not only the first time the Court has taken away a recognized individual liberty, it also decimates the nearly 50-year precedent that established abortion rights as an extension of the implied Right to Privacy found in the 14th Amendment.
With this ruling, the Court is allowing Mississippi to enforce its 15-week ban on abortion and is inviting eager state legislatures to further restrict and ban abortion. In many states, these restrictive measures will even go so far as to criminalize providers - including social workers - who may simply be doing their jobs by supporting a pregnant person in making decisions regarding reproductive care.
This decision is an unconscionable rollback of fundamental rights for all people in the United States. Forced pregnancy is a grave violation of human rights and dignity.
We should all be able to make the personal health care decisions that impact our lives, health, and futures. But the Court today issued a shattering blow to access to abortion in the United States, leaving even more people struggling to obtain essential health care. The abortion ban will also disproportionately affect people of color, who already have less access to reproductive care. In fact, abortion bans like Mississippi’s are part of intertwined systems of oppression that deny many vulnerable people access to their rights.
Besides people of color, the impact of this decision will also fall heavily on people with disabilities, people who live in rural areas, young people, undocumented people, and people who are low income. With this decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has once again failed the most disadvantaged Americans.
Decades of attacks have left abortion rights hanging by a thread in the United States. Today that thread was cut, but we are not defeated. Anti-abortion state lawmakers are already trying to prohibit people from accessing abortion across state lines, showing there’s no limit to their cruel attempts to control people’s personal health care decisions. These laws must be stopped.
NASW upholds that all individuals have a right to bodily autonomy, that abortion is health care, and that all individuals have the right to freedom of choice in accessing essential health care services, especially their reproductive health. Despite today’s decision, NASW will continue to advocate for reproductive rights for all on the local, state, and federal level.
Visit NASW's Reproductive Rights are Human Rights web page for resources