Lambda Legal: “People Will Die”

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June 24, 2022

Lambda Legal today condemned the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, severely undermining more than 50 years of individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and gender equality rights.

Jennifer Pizer, Acting Chief Legal Officer, Lambda Legal, issued the following statement:

“The damage wrought by today’s ruling is incalculable. As we warned when a draft was leaked in May, people will die as a result of this ruling. More than half the states are already poised to ban or at least severely restrict abortion access, forcing patients to travel hundreds of miles out of state or to continue pregnancies against their will. Officials in some states have even suggested they will move to prevent pregnant people from leaving. We are seeing the threat of a radical, totalitarian state more and more resembling Gilead of The Handmaid’s Tale.  If we want to retain any shred of gender equality and personal freedom, every one of us must raise our voices and engage.”    

Kristine Kippins, Lambda Legal’s Deputy Legal Director for Policy, added: 

“Abortion is essential health care, ensuring that people experiencing pregnancy are free to make deeply personal decisions about their own bodies, their families, and their futures. Abortion bans reflect and reinforce deeply harmful stereotypes about women, and the relative value attached to their lives. Such bans impact not only cisgender heterosexual women, but LGBTQI+ people, too, whether they are seeking abortion or not. Allowing governments to deprive people of their dignity, autonomy over their own bodies, and the ability to make fundamental decisions that determine the course of their lives because of “deeply rooted” gender stereotypes under the guise of respecting “history and tradition” will lead to the further marginalization of LGBTQI+ people by statehouses across the country and the entrenchment of white cisgender male supremacy.”

Pizer continued: “In addition to posing an existential threat to everyone who can become pregnant, this ruling puts at risk all the liberty and autonomy rights secured by decades of case law both before and after Roe v. Wade. These bedrock rights of freedom and equality have been critical to the rights to privacy about other medical decisions, the freedom to use birth control, of interracial couples to marry, and transgender rights, as well as to Lambda Legal’s victories in Lawrence v. Texas (which struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships) and Obergefell v. Hodges (which made marriage equality the law of the land). The Court’s assurances today that the only liberty at issue is the freedom not to continue a pregnancy, provide little comfort given the now-obviously-hollow assurances offered in Senate confirmation hearings that abortion rights are settled law. Make no mistake:  today’s decision threatens all of these fundamental personal rights. It is an extremist assault on the privacy, self-determination, dignity, and equality of every person in our country.” 

For further elaboration of the importance of abortion access and the individual liberty rights affirmed in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, read Lambda Legal’s friend-of-the-court brief in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt.