ROE V WADE REVERSAL: AN ASSAULT ON RIGHTS

On Friday, 24 June 2022 (local time), millions of United States citizens lost the right to control their bodies and make decisions affecting their lives, families, and futures. The US Supreme Court reached a majority decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion care. The United States joins Poland, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in recent reversals of abortion rights.

 ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa joins reproductive health and rights organisations around the world in expressing grave concerns. ALRANZ President and sexual and reproductive health researcher Dr Tracy Morison stated, “This decision makes no legal or public health sense; it simply makes reproductive rights uneven across the United States. Restrictive laws are associated with more unsafe abortions; globally, the leading cause of avoidable pregnancy-related deaths”. 

 Experts warn that the Supreme Court’s judgement will cause wide-ranging individual and social harm, highlighting that countries where abortion is heavily restricted or banned fare far worse on health, social, and economic indicators than those allowing choice. Morison concurs. “This judgement will undoubtedly harm and place an undue burden on individuals seeking an abortion,” she said. “Along with poor health outcomes, there are likely to be negative social and economic effects too. We can expect to see widening social inequality because those from marginalised groups struggle most to access abortion. There are potential negative consequences for gender equity. Reducing women’s reproductive choices affects their education, employment, and earning potential, with knock-on effects for their families, communities, and wider society. There are also worries about LGBTQ health and recently gained rights”.

 Reproductive health experts are also concerned about global repercussions, as anti-choice groups elsewhere are emboldened to reverse hard-won gains. ALRANZ shares this concern and views the overturning of Roe v Wade as an assault on reproductive rights, human rights, and democracy, not only within the United States but the world over.

 As for Aotearoa New Zealand, ALRANZ has pointed to worrying remarks made by members of the opposition party and urges Kiwis to remain vigilant regarding our new-won freedoms. The organisation will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the right to choose. 

Oral arguments on Mississippi abortion ban a dark day for women everywhere

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa deplores the apparent rolling back of the fundamental human right to bodily autonomy in the United States.

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa Executive Committee member Ella Shepherd said the arguments run in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization show a court “willing to control a woman’s most personal decisions about her body and her family”.

While devastating for American women, the likely outcome of Dobbs also demonstrates why Aotearoa cannot afford to become complacent.

Shepherd notes “this is a world where some countries remain steadfast in their attempts to erode and control reproductive freedoms. The arguments in Dobbs show how settled political realities can fall to partisan politics.”

In New Zealand, it is promising to see last year abortion was removed from the Crimes Act in a 68-51 majority vote. However, one of our two major parties is led by someone who still considers people who receive abortion care to be murderers.

Now more than ever it is important that Aotearoa continues to protect abortion rights and provide safe access to abortion care. ALRANZ denounces the path being taken by the Supreme Court in the United States and will remain vigilant to ensure a similar path is not taken in Aotearoa.