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BRBA Statement on the Dobbs Decision
Today the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood on the grounds that the abortion right was not “deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition,” thereby situating constitutional liberties in a history where liberty was not extended to all people. This decision ushers in further government encroachment on the human rights and bodily autonomy of childbearing individuals, and thus constitutes both an act of oppression in violation of internationally recognized fundamental freedoms and a threat to the wellbeing of pregnant, birthing, postpartum, and lactating individuals.
Restriction on access to abortion care is deleterious to perinatal health outcomes, subjects those forced to carry a pregnancy to term to health risks up to and including death, and prioritizes the life of the fetus above that of the pregnant person, in the process increasing exposure to non-evidence-based, riskier health services (e.g., mandatory electronic fetal monitors, mandatory subsequent cesareans). In addition to directly threatening pregnant people’s lives and wellbeing, curtailment of the federal constitutional right to abortion abandons established precedent. This in turn introduces implications that extend beyond pregnancy and birth, and upends legal institutions and regulatory systems that many have come to rely on. Even under the constitutional protections articulated in Roe, those institutions and systems were failing many families due to the legacy of racism, sexism, eugenics, and ableism in concert with profit-and-prestige-over-patients.
In this time of need for legal support and guidance, BRBA remains committed in its support of the Birth Justice movement as we navigate the changes incised on the legal landscape by the overturn of Roe. Our aim is to advance strategies and principles that go further and do better to protect all people. BRBA will respond to today’s decision by providing guidance to the legal profession as it seeks to support childbearing families, perinatal professionals, and public health policy makers. We will meet the dynamic needs of movement leaders by articulating legal arguments to support the Birth Justice framework. As the nation grapples with the full implications of the Dobbs decision, BRBA will continue our efforts to grow the capacity of our members in order to better protect and promote the human rights of people in the perinatal period.
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