Written by Aliye Runyan, MD, AMSA Reproductive Health Strategist
Today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law meant to shut down abortion clinics. We are thankful the Supreme Court held up the right to safe, legal abortion without unnecessary restrictions that only serve to limit access. The decision comes four years after the court struck down a nearly identical law in Texas, which had closed half of the state’s abortion clinics in a few short years.
Today’s Supreme Court decision will protect current abortion access, though for many communities, there are still incredible barriers to not only getting abortion care, but barriers to staying safe and healthy overall. The decision comes in the midst of a national uprising against police violence, a global pandemic, and an economic crisis, all of which disproportionately affect Black and brown communities.
Still, in many states, the protections Roe v. Wade should afford are not the reality for many women. This Supreme Court ruling is the floor, not the ceiling, for access to safe, legal abortion. Advocates must look beyond sustaining existing abortion rights, because that alone will not ensure that people have access to abortion. We need to build a future where abortion care is available to anyone who needs it, whoever they are, wherever they live. Had the Supreme Court upheld the Louisiana law, advocates feared it would open the gates to even more abortion restrictions or shut down clinics altogether.
Even so, there are hundreds of these types of deceptive laws that have been passed across the country, designed to devastate abortion access, putting communities even more at risk. While today’s victory is important, there is much more work ahead to ensure the rights affirmed today are a reality for people across the country.