San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility (SF Bay PSR) strongly opposes the Supreme Court ruling to overturn the 50-year legal decision recognizing the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. We stand with our colleagues in national and state medical organizations (ACOG, AMA, and CMA) as well as public health (APHA), who, along with leading scientists, have long recognized the medical and social value of safe, legal abortion as an essential part of reproductive health care.
SF Bay PSR organizes physicians and other health professionals to defend health and demand racial, social, and environmental justice with specific emphasis on preventing the health harms of climate change and nuclear weapons. We are alarmed by the negative impacts the SCOTUS decision will have on bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety, and health and economic equity.
Abortion is medical care, plain and simple. It is the decision of the pregnant person to determine whether or not to continue a pregnancy to term. It is the decision of a health-care provider with their patient to determine if a pregnancy needs to be terminated to protect the health or life of the patient. Medical decisions should not be jeopardized by fear of prosecution or death threats. As pregnancy carries significantly more medical risk than abortion, mandating pregnancy will lead to more maternal mortality and morbidity, especially for Black women who already experience more deaths from childbirth.
This SCOTUS ruling renders all women as second-class citizens. It has taken away the right to self-determination and reproductive freedom—disproportionately and unjustly impacting the health and economic well-being of low-income families and communities of color.
Moreover, as Michele Goodwin, chancellor’s professor of law at UC Irvine explains, “Black women’s sexual subordination and forced pregnancies were foundational to slavery, … and the [Supreme Court’s] neglectful reading of the amendments that abolished slavery and guaranteed all people equal protection under the law … means the erasure of Black women from the Constitution.”
It is clear from this decision and others that this Supreme Court intends to strip the federal government of powers that protect the environment and human health, and particularly target our most vulnerable communities. We need to raise our voices loud and clear, and join together in the strongest opposition to this fierce attack on our fundamental liberties and what remains of our democracy.