Today, the Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited decision on June Medical Services v. Russo, a landmark case on abortion rights. In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS ruled that the Louisiana law that prompted the case—and sought to place restrictions on abortion procedures—is unconstitutional. This is a major day in our nation for women’s reproductive rights—for human rights.
During one of the greatest public health crises our country has ever faced, we’ve seen detestable efforts to strip women of access to safe, legal abortions. It became increasingly apparent that those in positions of power in many states were attempting to capitalize on a pandemic to push their agenda, seeking to enact harmful anti-abortion legislation under the guise of a national emergency. This was the case from holding up a bipartisan coronavirus response package over a debate on abortion (https://www.facebook.com/zionessmovement/posts/611350192778612?__tn__=-Rto) to classifying abortions as “nonessential” or “elective” surgeries, thereby attempting to halt procedures in several states (https://www.facebook.com/zionessmovement/posts/616868682226763). We spoke out then, hosting several webinars with champions in the fight for reproductive freedom, and we will always continue this urgent fight.
The law that was struck down today related to “admitting privileges” in Louisiana––known as a TRAP (targeted restrictions on abortion providers) law––demanded that those providing abortions have admitting privileges in hospitals that may be significant distances from their practice, cost money, and place obscene burdens on practitioners. TRAP laws have the express intention of restricting access for women by targeting providers. Today’s ruling, which relied on precedent from a similar Texas case a few years ago, crossed perceived ideological boundaries on the Court and made a powerful statement to women and all those whose rights are being targeted in America today.
We celebrate today, while remaining vigilant. Though this was a major victory, we are starkly aware that this case will not be the final attempt to control women’s bodies, to whittle away at the critical framework established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, or to take advantage of the current composition of the Supreme Court. Our work continues. We will call out attempts to violate women’s bodily integrity and autonomy—and we will raise our voices for the right to access safe, legal abortions without fear.