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Center Statement on Supreme Court Overturning of Roe v. Wade

Bodily Autonomy is a Fundamental Freedom and Abortion is Healthcare

Sign saying abortion is healthcare, healthcare is a human right
Steve Edreff / Shutterstock

June 29, 2022

We, like many of you, are still processing the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade that effectively removed the constitutional protection for abortion, an essential healthcare procedure. Over the past few days, we have felt anger, sadness, confusion, and fear as a few have decided to take away the rights of so many in our community. We acknowledge the emotional and physical trauma this has caused and will continue to cause and want you to know, you are not in this alone.

The Center for Hunger-Free Communities adamantly supports the bodily and reproductive autonomy of all members of our community. We believe it is a fundamental freedom. Without unconditional sovereignty over one’s own body, a person cannot truly own anything or have the ability to maintain good health and build wealth - two vital components of a fulfilling life.

This monumental determination to roll back rights does not just impact women; its repercussions are far-reaching. It is not just a political or legal issue, but a public health one that affects every individual, family, and community in our country. However, it must be acknowledged that it will create even an more devastating burden on those who face the tremendous structural inequality and oppression at the core of many of our national and local systems, such as low-income families and Black women, who already endure greater danger and disparities in healthcare and beyond. Banning legal abortion services will only increase the mental and physical health risks these communities face.

Additionally, denying access to safe, affordable, and comprehensive healthcare, which includes abortion, perpetuates poverty and hunger. It is no surprise that the states most immediately impacted by this decision are those already experiencing the highest rates of teen pregnancy, poverty, food insecurity, and food-related illness - states where abortion services were already significantly limited. With access to comprehensive healthcare limited, those rates are sure to rise to even more dangerous levels, forcing more generations of children to be raised in deprivation.

We see this decision as another devastating blow in the progress toward equity. This decision makes clear what many of us have seen and felt for some time - that a certain subpopulation of our country is valued less than others. If we do not stand up, this is just another step toward eroding other essential rights of women and members of the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and 2SLGBTQ communities.

Those of us passionate about equity in public health and society are understandably moved to action at this time. But what can we do to make a difference?

  • Keep speaking out - It is easy to grow tired and frustrated, but we must persist. Reach out to lawmakers and the media. Do not move on. Do not let up.
  • Vote - We must make our voices heard at the polls and encourage friends, family, and everyone around us to use their votes to elect the representatives committed to protecting and restoring rights.
  • Share resources - Continue to share resources and be a resource for those who are most impacted by state bans. Donate time, money, social media space, or whatever we can to let folks know they are not alone and there are options, even when it may seem there are not any.
  • Advocate for increased public assistance and programs - The burden of unplanned pregnancies and the increasing cost of parenthood will place many in precarious financial situations. We must advocate to expand the systems and services that support families to ensure they have the food, housing, and other basic needs necessary to support themselves and their families. We must advocate for paid family leave and expanded SNAP, WIC, and TANF eligibility and increased benefits.
  • Support those speaking up - It takes courage and strength to speak out and share very personal stories knowing you may be attacked viciously. We must show support and care for those speaking out and sharing lived experience to advocate for change.
  • Take care of ourselves - Self-care is extremely important in times of great emotional stress. We must be sure to allow time to rest, recover, reflect, and feel emotions.

This is not the end, but the beginning of a long but fervent effort to restore basic rights to all and reduce hunger and poverty in our communities. We cannot do it alone, but together we are strong.